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Kentucky lawmakers vote to put limits on death penalty

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Karyn Czar
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HB 269 takes execution off the table for people who have committed a capital crime if they were diagnosed with schizophrenia or with schizoaffective, bipolar and delusional disorders at the time that crime was committed.

The bill gained full support of Democrats on the Senate floor but Republicans were split. Senators John Schickel and Adrienne Southworth who opposed the bill argued that decisions on the death penalty needed to happen in the courtroom.

“It’s not our job to sit here in the Kentucky State Senate and decide these questions of whether someone’s mentally ill or something like that.” Schickel said, “That’s the jury’s job.”

Southworth added, “We need to be addressing this issue at its core and not necessarily trying to snip off the edges because I don’t think we’re getting there with this bill. I think this is just putting band aids on the symptom instead of addressing the problem.”