Governor Kim Reynolds supports the death penalty in “limited circumstances,” but she is not calling on legislators to pass a law in 2018 that would re-establish capital punishment in Iowa.
“You’re not going to see me putting forth a bill,” Reynolds told Radio Iowa. “But I know there’s some indication that there are some senators looking at that and so what I would say at this point is I would be willing to take a look at it, but not going to weigh in until I see what direction they’re going in.”
A bill that would have allowed a death sentence for those convicted of kidnapping, raping and then murdering the victim was introduced in the Iowa Senate last year, but was never considered by a committee. Republican Senators met privately last week and the issue came up during their discussion according to Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix.
“I wouldn’t characterize it as a lengthy discussion,” Dix told Radio Iowa. “Clearly there are members that it’s an important issue to. At the moment, we’ll just see what the process brings forward and determine where we go from there.”
Iowa got rid of capital punishment in 1965. Thirty-one states currently have some form of the death penalty, but this summer the company that makes a key drug used in executions done by lethal injection announced it would no longer produce the drug. Governor Reynolds has asked her legal counsel for a report on that, as well as other related issues.
“I would like to take a look at what some of the other states are doing, what some of the other issues are and so I’ve actually just asked him three weeks ago (for)….an overview,” Reynolds said.
In 1995, a bill that would have reinstated the death penalty in Iowa narrowly passed the House, but was defeated in the Iowa Senate. Republicans held a majority of seats in both the House and Senate back then — as Republicans will when the legislature convenes next month.