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South Dakota Lawmakers Reject Repeal Of Death Penalty

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Opponents that include two former state attorneys general have been unsuccessful in swaying South Dakota lawmakers to repeal the state’s death penalty.

The Senate State Affairs Committee on Wednesday voted down two measures to repeal or limit the practice.

One proposal would have replaced capital punishment with a life prison sentence without parole. The other would have added a requirement that offenders could only receive the death penalty if they are considered too dangerous to be incarcerated.

The main sponsors of the bipartisan bills are Democratic Sen. Bernie Hunhoff and Republican Rep. Steve Hickey.

Former Republican Attorney General Mark Meierhenry told the committee that violence doesn’t solve violence. Current Attorney General Marty Jackley urged lawmakers not to change the law.

The Legislature declined to repeal the death penalty last year.