Bill puts death penalty reprieve in Washington state in spotlight

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- A Senate panel is weighing a measure that would prohibit a future Washington state governor from issuing a death penalty reprieve until after receiving a recommendation from a state Clemency and Pardons Board.

The Senate Law and Justice Committee heard public testimony on Senate Bill 6566 Wednesday. The measure was introduced after Gov. Jay Inslee said earlier this month he is suspending the use of the death penalty in Washington state for as long as he's in office.

Republican Sen. Steve O'Ban sponsored the bill. He said Inslee committed a new form of injustice by failing to consult with the families of victims and prosecutors before making his decision.

Several family members of murder victims spoke in support of the measure.

If passed, a governor would be under no legal obligation to follow the board's recommendation.