Death Penalty Bill Passes House

Quoting scripture; The Holy Bible was brought into a debate on speeding up Florida’s death penalty Thursday.

"Vengeance is Mine saith the Lord," said Rep Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda.

“If man shed’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed," said Rep Charles Van Zant.

"An eye for an eye, only leaves blinded people in this community," said Rep. Dewayne Taylor.

Some members put their own spin on the scriptures.

"Those of you who are without sin cast the first vote yes," said Taylor.

The bill sparking all the religious zeal would speed up executions in Florida, by streamlining the appeals process and forcing judges to make quicker decisions.

"What in the world is the hurry?" asked Rep Elaine Swartz.

Many Democrats oppose the changes. They say speeding up the process will mean even more innocent people will be put to death.

"You put a person to death you can’t bring them back to life,” said Rep. Mia Jones.

Republicans say the long appeals process burdens the victim’s families.

"Justice delayed is justice denied and it's totally unfair to the victims," said Rep Dennis Baxley.

There are more than 400 inmates on Florida's death row. 150 have been there two decades or longer.

After members stopped quoting scripture the bill's sponsor Matt Gaetz ended the debate with his take on speeding up executions.

"Only God, only God can judge but we can sure set up the meeting," said Rep. Gaetz.

Members voted, 84 – 34.

The bill was hurried over to the Senate.

The legislation would also set up an oversight system for judges who don’t rule quickly in death cases. The judges would have to answer to the House Speaker, Senate President and the Governor.


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