A measure being considered by the Kansas Senate Judiciary Committee to repeal the state’s death penalty picked up eight supporters on Friday.
In a letter to the Kansas Legislature, eight bishops of the Episcopal Church, Roman Catholic Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church and United Methodist Church in Kansas signed a letter asking for reconsideration and repeal of the Kansas death penalty.
Signing the letter, dated Jan. 28, were Bishops James M. Adams Jr., Episcopal Diocese of Western Kansas; Paul S. Coakley, Catholic Diocese of Salina; Ronald M. Gilmore, Catholic Diocese of Dodge City; Michael O. Jackels, Catholic Diocese of Wichita; Scott J. Jones, Kansas Area United Methodist Church; Gerald L. Mansholt, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Joseph F. Naumann, Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas City; and Dean Wolfe, Episcopal Diocese of Kansas. “As bishops leading the Episcopal Church, Roman Catholic Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church and United Methodist Church in Kansas, we write to share our deep concern about the continuing practice of condemning persons to death in Kansas,” the letter said.
Last week the Senate Judiciary Committee opened four days of hearings on the bill. The state passed the death penalty law in 1994, making death by lethal injection the possible penalty for some murders. However, the state has not executed anyone under the provision since it was enacted.
“We had it last year and we had it for a day and it went to the floor,” said committee chairman Tim Owens, R-Overland Park. “There were so many questions then, I asked the President of the Senate to send it back to committee.”
Owens said that there has been additional information received since it was on the Senate floor during last session.