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State Senate passes bill to abolish death penalty

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Washington Senate on Wednesday passed a measure to abolish the state's death penalty.

Senate Bill 6052 passed on 26-22 bipartisan vote and now heads to the House for consideration.

Previous efforts to ban the death penalty have failed to gain traction in recent years, in spite of a execution moratorium put in place by Gov. Jay Inslee in 2014. As long as the moratorium is in place, death row inmates will remain in prison rather than face execution.

The Senate measure would remove capital punishment as a sentencing option for aggravated murder and mandate instead a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole.

A 2015 study from Seattle University found that death penalty cases in the state cost $1 million more than similar cases where capital punishment is not sought.

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