Wagoner laments limited debate on death penalty repeal bill

The Senate voted to repeal the death penalty in Washington State just before the 5 o’clock deadline to approve legislation in the house of origin on Wednesday. Unfortunately, the Senate Democrats cut debate short, and legislators were unable to voice their concerns with Senate Bill 6052.

Sen. Keith Wagoner, R-Sedro-Woolley, offered the following statement on the passage of the repeal.

“I was very disappointed that they cut off debate on such an important topic. We spend countless hours on the Senate floor debating all kinds of esoteric subjects that aren’t as important as this issue. In this case, it is an initiative of the people that we just reversed. To have debate cut off on that topic when there were so many who wanted to speak, including myself, I just think it was disrespectful to the people of the 39th who I am here to represent. I’m very disappointed that we were unable to speak, in my case, against that bill.”

Wagoner took exception to one of his Democrat colleague’s remarks, who stated, “I am going to ask for a no vote… I think we know more than the average voter does on this particular issue.”

“I take exception to Sen. Pedersen’s remarks. It is wrong to say that somehow, this body had more connection or more knowledge than the voters do. The people who are close to this issue are the victims. Under current law, if you’re a victim’s family and you feel like the death penalty is wrong, you can make that appeal for clemency in court. If you’re on the other side of that coin, and you want the person to face the ultimate penalty, that is now off the table, the state took that away from them,” Wagoner said.