Kentucky lawmakers push bill banning death penalty for severely mentally ill

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP/WJW) — Efforts to ban applying Kentucky’s death penalty to some people with severe mental illnesses have run into resistance. But the bill mustered just enough votes to be sent to the full state Senate.

House Bill 148 was advanced by the Kentucky Senate Judiciary Committee on a 6-4 vote Thursday. That leaves it potentially one step away from being sent to the governor, but that final hurdle could be a formidable one in the Senate.

You can read H.B. 148 below:

Rep. Chad McCoy (R), who sponsored the bill, told the Hoptown Chronicle that those who are convicted of capital offenses would still be punished. The proposed bill would just prohibit the death penalty from being available to some.

“This is not an insanity defense, not taking away that. They will go to jail for life without the possibility of parole. We’re just removing the death penalty for this small segment,” McCoy reportedly said.

The House-passed measure would block use of the death penalty for people with a documented history of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder or delusional disorder.

The measure will reportedly only impact trials that begin after the bill is passed.

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