This week All Things Considered is looking at the key bills at the statehouse this year – which passed, which didn’t, and why.
Proponents of repealing New Hampshire's death penalty law had new allies this year, including Governor Maggie Hassan, who promised to sign a repeal measure as long as it didn't affect the sentence of Michael Addison, the state's lone death row inmate.
The State House approved a repeal measure, but the Senate deadlocked 12-12 over the bill and ultimately laid it on the table.
New Hampshire's House has twice passed legislation to repeal the death penalty with the governor's blessing, but the second attempt has cost them a key supporter in the Senate. Republican Sen. Bob Odell, who voted for repeal, said Friday that he won't vote to take up the issue again. The first bill stalled in the Senate on a 12-12 vote last month, but supporters may have overplayed their hand by sending a second bill to the Senate for a vote Thursday. The Senate has the option of passing the amended bill, killing it or asking the House to compromise.
Michael Briggs, the Manchester Police officer shot in the line of duty in 2006, and his killer, Michael Addison, who now sits on death row, both loomed large in the debate.
An indication of how large could be seen in the front row of the senate gallery.
That’s where Manchester police officials, including the chief and he lead investigator of the Briggs muder stood in full uniform the whole time. 15 feet down in the senate floor Michael Briggs name came up almost immediately – by people on both sides of the issue.
The 3-2 margin came two days after an initial vote ended in a tie
The revote was requested by Senator Donna Soucy (D-Manchester).
Soucy's district was where N.H.’s lone death row inmate, Michael Addison, committed the crime that persuaded a jury to sentence him to death -- the 2006 shooting of Manchester police officer Michael Briggs.
Soucy says given that, and the importance of the issue, she didn’t want to give the impression she might have been dodging it.
Former Supreme Court Chief Justice and current UNH Law School Dean, John Broderick told lawmakers that NH is better than countries like Iran, Iraq, North Korea, where the death penalty is used.
Broderick said anyone who's spent time in a prison knows it's a hopeless and demeaning place, and asked lawmakers to consider what it would be like to by laying on a gurney, a lethal injection headed your way, knowing you were innocent.