Ohio state Rep. Jean Schmidt, a former advocate of the death penalty, now is trying to end executions in her state. “I’m a true conservative, a Trump supporter all the way,” she says, “and I have changed my mind on this.” She thinks other Republicans are ready to change their minds, reports Vox. A new survey of 44 Ohio state lawmakers showed that 46 percent of Republican lawmakers felt that the state should eliminate the death penalty, while 38 percent of Democrats said the same (and half of the Democrats polled were undecided). Supporters expect the legislation to pass in the next year or so.
At the national level, Democrats opposing the death penalty are largely on their own. President Biden’s Justice Department enacted a moratorium on federal executions, and his campaign said he would work to pass legislation ending the federal death penalty, but legislation introduced by Democrats in the House hasn’t made it out of committee. On the state level, Ohio isn’t an anomaly. Republicans are leading or cosponsoring efforts to repeal or limit the death penalty in Kentucky, Georgia, Missouri, Kansas, and Pennsylvania. A bill introduced by GOP lawmakers in Utah was narrowly defeated in committee last month. An advocacy group, Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, has been highlighting the growing numbers of Republicans speaking out against it.