One day after the Texas House of Representatives initially passed a bill prohibiting the death penalty for defendants with severe mental illness, the measure ran into trouble.
On Wednesday, House Bill 727, sponsored by state Rep. Toni Rose, D-Dallas, narrowly passed (84–61). Yet without providing an explanation on the floor, a final vote that was slated for Thursday was moved to the following week.
The bill was delayed “because to ongoing conversations we’re engaging in to provide a strong level of support for the plan to the Senate,” according to a statement made by Rose on Saturday. The bill appeared to have enough votes to pass the House.
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Similar bills were approved by Rose in the House during the previous two legislative sessions, but they were defeated in the more conservative body.
During the House floor discussion, Rose stated, “I think the third time is the charm.”
Hardline conservatives oppose the bill, saying it will make it difficult to impose the death penalty and that offenders could fake mental illness. The Democrat is also facing opposition inside her own chamber this year.
Rose highlighted that under her plan, seriously mentally ill capital killers “would still be punished, they would simply not be condemned to death,” despite opposition from one of the House’s most conservative members. Instead, they would receive a life sentence without the chance of parole.
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