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Seal of the Governor
For Immediate Release: February 3, 2021
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Alena Yarmosky,

Governor Northam Statement on Virginia Senate Passage of Bill to Abolish Death Penalty

RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam issued the following statement today after the Senate of Virginia voted on legislation sponsored by Senator Scott Surovell to ban capital punishment in the Commonwealth, which passed by 21 to 17 margin.

“Today’s vote in the Virginia Senate is a tremendous step toward ending the death penalty in our Commonwealth. Virginia has executed more people than any other state. The practice is fundamentally inequitable. It is inhumane. It is ineffective. And we know that in some cases, people on death row have been found innocent.

“It’s time for Virginia to join 22 other states and abolish the death penalty. I applaud every Senator who cast a courageous vote today, and I look forward to signing this bill into law.”

The House of Delegates is considering a companion bill to abolish the death penalty, sponsored by Delegate Mike Mullin. The bill advanced out of committee today, but the full body has not yet voted on it.

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