As 2015 draws to a close Texas Moratorium Network looks back on the top Texas death penalty news stories of the year. Each day, I will update this post with another Texas death penalty news story that broke in 2015. I will continue to post the list of top ten Texas death penalty news stories each day until I reach number one.
3) Texas State Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr filed an historic first-ever bill in Texas Senate that would completely abolish the Texas death penalty.
This was the first time a state senator had ever filed legislation in the Senate to completely abolish the death penalty in Texas. It happened after organizations in Texas held the Statewide Texas Lobby Day to Abolish the Death Penalty on March 3 and death row survivors Ron Keine and Sabrina Butler from Witness to Innocence and Scott Cobb (me) of Texas Moratorium Network met with Senator Lucio’s general counsel and requested that Senator Lucio file abolition legislation.
(There was an abolition bill filed in the Texas Senate in 1969, but it would not have completely abolished the death penalty.)
Here is a report from the Austin American-Statesman on the lobby day, which was widely covered in the media, including the Dallas Morning News, potentially reaching hundreds of thousands of people in Texas with our message.
Last summer, Senator Lucio attended the Democrats Against the Death Penalty caucus at the Texas Democratic Party state convention. The caucus has been held every year since 2004 when it was started by Scott Cobb. The caucus has proven to be an effective method for persuading Texas Democrats to make abolishing the death penalty a higher priority among both elected officials and ordinary people in the Texas Democratic Party. The TDP platform endorses abolishing the death penalty.
Here are links to the two pieces of legislation filed by Senator Lucio. One is a regular bill (SB 1661) and the other is a proposed constitutional amendment (SJR 54).
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