Washington lawmakers consider bill to abolish death penalty

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OLYMPIA — An effort to abolish the death penalty has never gained traction in Washington state, but supporters of the endeavor are not giving up.

This year's bill to overturn capital punishment, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Reuven Carlyle of Seattle, will receive a public hearing on Wednesday. It's co-sponsored by 20 other lawmakers, including one Republican, Rep. Maureen Walsh of Walla Walla.

The death penalty is currently used by the federal government and 33 states, including Washington. Seventeen states have abolished it, with Connecticut being the most recent last year.

Since 1904, 78 men have been put to death in Washington. Eight men are on death row at the state penitentiary.

Bills to abolish the death penalty have been introduced in past years in Washington state but have not garnered much support.