Utah lawmakers have until day’s end to vote on death penalty

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah lawmakers are nearing their deadline to decide if they want to abolish the death penalty in the conservative state.

Thursday is the final day of the legislative session, and lawmakers have until midnight to vote.

The measure cleared a House committee by one vote Tuesday. If it passes the full House, the bill will head to Republican Gov. Gary Herbert, who says he hasn't decided whether he'll sign it.

The debate in the GOP-dominated Legislature comes amid a renewed national discussion about capital punishment.

A nationwide shortage of lethal-injection drugs in recent years has led several states to pass or consider laws to bring back other execution methods, such as electrocution.

Last year, Utah lawmakers voted to reinstate firing squads as a backup method to ensure the state had a way to kill death row inmates if it couldn't get lethal-injection drugs.
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