Abolition of Death Penalty Heads to Governor Northam’S Desk

February 22, 2021

The Virginia Senate has passed HB 2263 (Del. Mullin, D – Newport News) and SB 1165 (Sen. Surovell, D – Fairfax). These bills abolish the death penalty in Virginia, and head to the desk of Governor Ralph Northam for his signature.

Majority Leader Dick Saslaw said: “In the last 50 years, Virginia has executed more people than all states but two – and the Commonwealth holds the record for total number of people who have undergone the death penalty in its history. With this historic legislative action, we have seized the opportunity to stand on the right side of history by abolishing the outdated, unjust punishment of the death penalty.”

Caucus Chair Mamie Locke said: “Virginia has executed a higher percentage of its disproportionately Black and Brown inmates on death row than any other state, and has executed more women and the youngest children than anywhere else in the country. With Governor Northam’s signature, Virginia can lead the way in starting a new chapter in justice.”

Vice Caucus Chair Scott Surovell said: “Virginia is joining 22 other states in abolishing the death penalty, after centuries of the immoral practice being unjustly applied to people of color, and sometimes, the innocent. As the patron of the bill this year and in years past, it’s been a long battle to get this far – but a worthwhile one, to see the Commonwealth now take steps forward after years of falling backward.”