Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s bill to abolish the death penalty has passed in the state Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on a 6 to 5 vote. The bill will now move to the Senate floor, where it is expected to pass. Twenty-six of the Maryland Senate’s forty-seven members have pledged to support the bill.

Senator Brian E. Frosh (D-Montgomery), who acted as the chairman of the panel, said, “Human beings make mistakes. No matter how hard we try . . . to find a way to beat all the error out of our system, I don’t believe that’s possible.”

Thirty-two U.S. jurisdictions have refrained from using capital punishment in the last five years according to a 2011 study by the Death Penalty Information Center. In fact, most executions occur in southern states.  Texas, for example, is credited with over one third of all executions nationally. If the state were to pass the bill, Maryland would join seventeen other states which have outlawed capital punishment. Currently, five prisoners are on death row in Maryland.

Sources: Delmarva Now 2/22/2013; Think Progress 2/22/2013; Washington Post 2/22/2013