Conservatives and Republicans Support Death Penalty Repeal Bill in Montana

A bipartisan group of legislators in Montana will introduce a bill to replace the state's death penalty with a sentence of life without parole. The sponsors include two Republicans and two Democrats. A coalition of conservative lawmakers, religious groups, and human rights groups support the repeal of capital punishment. Republican Sen. Matthew Rosendale (pictured), a member of Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, said his stance on the death penalty did not cost him votes. “People know where I stand on the death penalty and I still got elected by a wide margin....[I]f you stand up and say, ‘I’m against the death penalty,’ you will not lose conservative votes.” He added that conservatives, many of whom are concerned about abortion, have a variety of reasons for opposing the death penalty: “Everyone has their own reasons why they support ending the death penalty. For some folks, it’s for fiscal reasons, and other folks oppose it for moral issues.”

A similar bill passed the state Senate in 2009 and 2011, but died in the House Judiciary Committee.

(J. Adams, "Anti-death penalty bill revived: Group to call for life in prison without parole instead," Great Falls Tribune, February 3, 2013.) See Recent Legislation and New Voices.