In light of the recent reports in The Houston Chronicle and Chicago Tribune that Texas may have executed three innocent persons (Carlos De Luna, Cameron Willingham and Ruben Cantu), we expect there will be an increase in support for a moratorium in the Texas Legislature because even the most ardent supporters of the death penalty are not in favor of executing innocent people. For now, let’s take a look back at the level of support five years ago.
In 2001, there was a vote on a moratorium on executions on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives. The bill was HB 1328 by Rep Harold Dutton. 52 House members voted in favor of a moratorium back then, including one Republican. 91 voted “No” on the moratorium bill. 1 person was recorded as “present not voting” and there were six absent members. A couple of the Democrats who voted “No”, probably did so on procedural grounds and were in fact in favor of a moratorium.
Among the current members of the House, there are 52 members (23 D’s 29 R’s) who were not members in 2001 and so have never voted on a moratorium.
There are 62 current members who were also members in 2001 and voted “No”. There are 3 members who were members in 2001, but were absent or “present not voting” in 2001.
There are 33 current members (32 D’s and 1 R) of the Texas Legislature who were also members in 2001 and who voted “yes” for the moratorium back then.
After the election this November, there will be some new members of the House and some of the current members will no longer be members.