SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- A bill that seeks to abolish California's death penalty has advanced after its first legislative hearing.
The Assembly Public Safety Committee voted 5-2 Thursday in favor of SB490 after hearing testimony from the author of California's death penalty law and a former warden who presided over executions. Both now believe the state should end capital punishment.
They cited a recent study that found California has spent $4 billion on capital punishment since it was reinstated in 1978 but has executed just 13 inmates during that time.
California has the nation's largest death row, with 714 inmates. Most are more likely to die of old age than lethal injection.
If signed into law, the bill would put the question before voters in 2012. It now goes to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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