TAKE ACTION: The death penalty is expensive, ineffective and unconstitutional. Why would we do MORE of it?
TAKE ACTION: Less Death Penalty...Not MORE...in Utah!
On Tuesday, February 2, the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee heard a bill to EXPAND THE APPLICATION OF THE DEATH PENALTY in Utah. The ACLU of Utah believes that we need LESS of this unjust and ineffective government-sanctioned killing - definitely not MORE. We are sorry to report that the Committee passed the bill along, 6 votes to 3 votes, on to the next stage of the legislative process.
That means, sometime in the next week or two, the full Utah House of Representatives will vote on HB136. And that presents another opportunity for YOU TO TAKE ACTION as a community lobbyist!
Rep. Paul Ray's HB136 is misleadingly named "Human Trafficking Amendments." It does not, in fact, help to alleviate human trafficking in Utah. What it does is allow the government to sentence to execution defendants who are involved in human trafficking that results in death - even if the person convicted did not actually KILL anyone.
The ACLU of Utah is strongly opposed to this legislation for the following reasons:
- More and more states – Nebraska, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Washington - are realizing that in practice, the death penalty just doesn’t work. Its primary features are that it is EXPENSIVE, INEFFECTIVE and ARBITRARILY APPLIED. This effort by Rep. Ray definitely keeps moving us in the wrong direction, further away from the national and international consensus.
- The Legislative Fiscal Analyst Office reports that it costs the state of Utah about $1.6 million MORE per inmate, from trial to execution, than it costs for Life Without Parole. It makes more sense to give that money to community organizations and agencies that actually help get trafficked women, men and children the help they need.
- Human trafficking is a very serious problem, and the solution is PREVENTION, FUNDING, RESOURCES AND SUPPORT FOR THE VICTIMS. Utahns want a just and humane approach to help the people who are victimized by human trafficking, not more expensive capital trials that drag on forever.
PLEASE - take a few minutes to email your HOUSE REPRESENTATIVE to ask her or him to vote against HB136, Rep. Paul Ray's bill to expand the use of the death penalty in Utah, when it comes to the House Floor. Use the talking points above, along with your own thoughts on the issue, to express your desire to see this bill STOPPED from moving forward. A few other tips for your ACTION EMAIL:
- Be sure to let your representative that know you are a VOTER in their district! That will pack an extra punch for your email (find your House Representative here).
- Put "Vote NO on HB136, Human Trafficking Amendments!" as your email subject heading, so this is the first thing the legislator sees.
- Be polite, be clear, be respectful and be BRIEF. Please, do not use rude or abusive language with our elected officials. They will ignore your emails if you are not respectful and brief.
Your emails, sent in the next week, will help inform our legislators that many Utahns do not support this pointless exercise in government power. We want REAL solutions to human trafficking, solutions that focus on the victims and prevent more tragic trauma to the men, women and children who are trafficked in Utah. HB136 is the WRONG ANSWER to a very serious problem.