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California: With state executions on hold, death penalty foes rethink ballot strategy

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California advocates of abolishing the death penalty got a jolt of momentum in March, when Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he would not allow any executions to take place while he was in office.
But after trying twice this decade to persuade voters to end capital punishment, they have no plans to go to the ballot again in 2020. Rather than seeking to build on Newsom’s temporary reprieve for Death Row inmates, activists are taking their own pause.
Grappling with the legacy of their two failed initiatives, advocates are reassessing their strategy and retooling their message. Natasha Minsker, a political consultant who has long been involved with abolition efforts, said the governor’s moratorium has given advocates the opportunity to do long-term planning.
“There’s this excitement and energy in our movement that we haven’t had in a long time,” Minsker said.
Newsom’s executive order caught many Californians by surprise. Although he supported the unsuccessful ballot measures to abolish t…

Mississippi House proposes firing squad as execution method

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The Mississippi House wants to allow the state prison system to execute prisoners using a firing squad if officials decide lethal injection is too expensive or unavailable.

The House amended Senate Bill 2237 Friday before passing it 80-39, sending it back to the Senate for more work.

The measure makes secret the names of prison employees at an execution and the pharmacy providing lethal drugs.

It also makes secret the names of family members of the prisoner or crime victim.

First Amendment advocates say that measure unconstitutionally restrains free speech.

Supporters say the measure protects those involved in executions from harassment by people who oppose the death penalty.

Attorney General Jim Hood has asked lawmakers to approve alternate execution methods including the firing squad, electrocution and the use of nitrogen gas.

Source: The Associated Press, March 25, 2016

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