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Michigan GOP Congressman Backs Bill To Prohibit Federal Death Penalty

Terre Haute Penitentiary

The Trump administration carried out 13 executions at a federal facility in Terre Haute, Indiana. (Courtesy: Federal Bureau of Prisons)

Legislation to abolish the federal death penalty now has a Republican backer in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI) is signing on as a co-sponsor to the Federal Death Penalty Prohibition Act of 2021, capital punishment opponents announced Friday. 

Meijer's office did not immediately return calls Friday.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced the legislation earlier this year. The bill followed an unprecedented string of executions at a federal facility in Terre Haute in the final months of President Donald Trump’s presidency.

Trump’s administration carried out 13 executions between July 2020 and Inauguration Day. It was by far the highest number in decades of executions by a single administration.

Rev. Sharon Risher, the daughter of one of the women murdered in 2015 in a South Carolina church by white supremacist Dylann Roof, spoke Friday in favor of the legislation.

“It's time for America to get away from the violence that has disproportionately killed black and brown people as a result of this death penalty,” Risher said. “There are other ways that we could sentence someone for crimes that they have committed other than killing them, because what will killing them do? Killing Dylann Roof will not bring my mother back.”

A group of business leaders also announced support Friday for ending the death penalty.

They include Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Bayer CEO Werner Baumann.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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