The vote from bleary-eyed lawmakers finally came around 4 a.m. after Republicans repeatedly tried to slow the process by making lengthy speeches or bringing unsuccessful amendments up for a vote.
Republican Rep. Steve Humphrey spent nearly 40 minutes reading from the Bible.
At one point, Republicans forced two hours of debate on whether voters, not lawmakers, should be able to decide whether capital punishment should be legalized in the state.
“I’m not going to dodge the hard issues by sending them to the people,” Rep. Jeni Arndt, the sponsor of the repeal bill, said. “We are the people.”
Among the Republicans that held up the vote was Rep Lori Saine.
“One side of this assembly defended families and victims,” the Denver Post reported her saying. “One side defended criminals.”
This year marks the seventh time Colorado’s legislature has wrestled with the death penalty issue. Lethal injection is the only permitted method of execution in Colorado (file).
No Republicans supported the repeal.
Democrats have a 17-vote advantage in the House.
The bill, which cleared the Senate last month, needs one final vote from the House, which could happen as early as Wednesday. Democratic Gov. Jared Polis has indicated he will sign it into law.
This year marks the seventh time Colorado’s legislature has wrestled with the death penalty issue. When signed, the law would apply to offenses on or after July 1 and would not apply to the three men currently on Colorado’s death row.
Only one person has been executed by the state of Colorado since the reintroduction of capital punishment in 1977. Gary Lee Davis, a convicted murderer and rapist, was executed by lethal injection in 1997