Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley will do “everything in my power” to abolish the death penalty in Maryland this year, reports the Baltimore Sun. He raised the possibility of allowing voters to decide the divisive issue through a constitutional amendment if legislative repeal efforts fail again. The governor, a Democrat, intends to sponsor a bill to repeal capital punishment, which would put more of his political capital behind the issue. A longtime death penalty opponent, the governor has testified in favor of repeal legislation, but he has never offered his own initiative.
Last month, a gubernatorial commission voted to recommend abolishing capital punishment and outlined what it saw as fatal flaws in the application of the death penalty. Some lawmakers and death penalty opponents said the administration’s sponsorship could be enough to move a bill out of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, where identical efforts have failed the past two years.