Supporters of a proposed initiative to repeal the death penalty in California
plan to begin turning in nearly 800,000 voter signatures today in hopes of
qualifying for the November ballot.
The initiative, which is backed by a group called California Taxpayers for
Justice, would replace California's capital punishment with a maximum sentence
of life imprisonment without parole. Supporters say the change, which would
apply to inmates currently on death row, would save the state millions.
A recent Field Poll, however, showed more than 2/3 of California voters
continue to support the death penalty.
Proponents need 504,760 valid voter signatures to secure a spot on the November
ballot. The campaign said on its Twitter account that it will turn in nearly
800,000 petition signatures. A campaign committee formed to support the measure
reported raising more than $1.3 million through the end of 2011. Major
contributors include branches of the American Civil Liberties Union, Google
executive Robert Alan Eustace, Hyatt Development Corporation CEO Nicholas
Pritzker and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.
Proponents have scheduled press conferences throughout the state to begin
filing the signatures. Listed speakers at a 10 a.m. event in Sacramento include
Don Heller, the author of the 1978 initiative that reinstated the death
penalty, and the mother of 2 murder victims.
(source: Sacramento Bee)