Tallahassee, Florida - Florida will keep its death penalty.
Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda finally got a House committee on Thursday to vote on her bill to repeal the death penalty. The bill failed, but she was glad the issue got a hearing. She's been filing the legislation for several years.
Vasilinda argued it's time to get rid of the death penalty because the justice system makes mistakes. Florida leads the nation in the number of innocent people sentenced to death.
She also said it costs taxpayers way too much money. One estimate found legal costs for inmates on death row add up to more than $20 million for every execution, while life in prison is a fraction of that cost.
Plus, Vasilinda said there's no evidence the death penalty is a deterrent.
"Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord. If we're not deterring crime, we're not keeping people safer. We have better things to do with the money, then why are we doing this?"
Vasilinda added that the United States is in a notorious group of countries carrying out executions. She cited the top ten countries that perform the most known executions each year.
"China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, USA, Yemen, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Bangladesh and Vietnam and although we may want to make some of those nations more friendly to us, those are nations that are not known for their human rights."
Death penalty supporter Rep. Matt Gaetz is pushing to speed up executions in Florida. He says it doesn't make sense to allow inmates to remain on death row for 25 or 30 years before they're executed.