The NH House of Representatives was scheduled to have a debate today on the death penalty. HB 162, a bill to radically expand potential use of the death penalty, was on the agenda. Also on the agenda was an amendment to HB 162 that would have repealed the death penalty altogether. (See my previous post for details.)
But in a move that appeared to surprise the bill’s sole sponsor, Rep. Phil Greazzo, Rep. Elaine Swinford, chair of the Criminal Justice Committee, introduced a motion for the bill to be tabled. A “parliamentary inquiry” in support of the motion from Majority Leader DJ Bettencourt indicated that the proposed tabling was the will of the leadership.
The motion to table passed by a vote of 176 to 153. It will take a two-thirds majority vote to remove it from the table and bring it back to the House floor.
Since repeal was unlikely (especially with a pro-death penalty governor), the major outcome is that death penalty expansion is stopped for the time being. Still a mystery is the motivation and intentions of the House leaders.