Federal Way senator pushes to abolish death penalty

Sen. Mark Miloscia of Federal Way sponsored a bill to abolish the death penalty that was introduced in the state House and Senate on Jan. 6.

Sen. Mark Miloscia of Federal Way sponsored a bill to abolish the death penalty that was introduced in the state House and Senate on Jan. 6.

Sen. Mark Miloscia of Federal Way sponsored a bill to abolish the death penalty that was introduced in the state House and Senate on Jan. 6.

Sen. Mark Miloscia of Federal Way sponsored a bill to abolish the death penalty that was introduced in the state House and Senate on Jan. 6.

The measures from the bill build on Gov. Jay Inslee’s efforts to impose a moratorium on capital punishment.

Miloscia wants to replace the death penalty with a life sentence, with no opportunity for parole.

“This is a bill I have been behind for the past few years,” Miloscia said. “I see it as an economic and moral issue.”

House Bill 1739 and Senate Bill 5639 would also require those convicted to work in prison in order to pay restitution to victims and their families.

“There was a major study that showed there were major economic consequences in our judicial process in using the death penalty,” Miloscia said. “Even in a state like ours where we have generally only used the death penalty sentence once every eight years or so, it is so expensive.”

Miloscia cited a recent study from Seattle University that found death penalty cases in the state cost $1 million more than similar Washington cases where capital punishment was not the outcome.

“This is one of the many ways we can be more budget conscience,” Miloscia said.

Miloscia pointed out he doesn’t personally believe in the death sentence.

“I happen to be a pro-life person and believe all human life is precious from conception to natural death,” he said. “My value lies in protecting human life.”

Currently 32 states and the federal government have authorized the death penalty, including Washington and Oregon. Eighteen states have abolished the death penalty, with Maryland being the most recent.

Last February, Inslee announced no executions would take place in the state while he remained in office, despite the fact that the death penalty was legal. Inslee told media he would issue a reprieve in any death penalty case that crossed his desk, though he would not let any death row prisoners go free. A future governor could reverse this action and order an execution to be carried out.

“I believe that, if anything, working to pass these bills is a start of a conversation,” Miloscia said. “We expect this to be a journey and we hope to bring people together to address the issue.”

So far, three other lawmakers have signed on in support of the House measure including Democratic Rep. Tina Orwall of Des Moines and Republican Reps. Maureen Walsh of Walla Walla and Chad Magendanz of Issaquah. Two Democrats, Sens. Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Jamie Pedersen, both of Seattle, are co-sponsors on the Senate bill.

 

 

 

 


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