17 February 2020 :
Wyoming death penalty repeal bill (HB 166) fails introduction vote. 1 year after a similar bill passed through the House of Representatives, Wyoming lawmakers decided not to take on legislation to repeal the state's death penalty Wednesday, marking the end of an ambitious repeal campaign that was initiated after a narrow defeat in the Senate in 2019. 2020 is a budget session in Wyoming, so introduction of a non-budgetary bill requires a two-thirds vote. HB 166 was filed on February 10, 2020, but the 37-23 vote on February 12 fell three votes short of the supermajority needed for introduction. Sponsored for the second straight year by Rep. Jared Olsen, R-Cheyenne, a repeal bill has been lobbied by national groups like Conservatives Against The Death Penalty and the American Civil Liberties Union — as well as a number of religious organizations in Wyoming — for nearly a year. It seemed to catch some traction with lawmakers as well, with this year’s version of the legislation managing to achieve roughly double the number of co-sponsors it gathered last year (39, between both chambers). The arguments in favor of repeal, according to supporters of the repeal effort, are clear: $1 million in savings from the state’s annual contribution to a fund specifically intended for death penalty cases and avoidance of executing potentially innocent inmates — a key argument for conservatives who argue bureaucracy cannot be trusted with the taking of a human life. Conservatives in some states push against death penalty. The introduction of this year’s version of the repeal legislation comes after a historic effort in the 2019 general session, where Olsen managed to push the bill all the way to the Senate — the first time a death penalty repeal bill had ever cleared the House of Representatives here. It failed in the upper chamber on first reading by an 18-12 margin.