On Thursday, the New Hampshire legislature overrode a veto from Republican Governor Chris Sununu and became the 21st state in the U.S. to abolish capital punishment, capping off a long effort by state lawmakers.
“The death penalty has been an issue every New Hampshire legislator has grappled with over many years,” Senate President Donna Soucy said in a statement. “It was a privilege today to join my colleagues in voting to repeal capital punishment in the Granite State.” [h/t NPR]
Sununu’s veto was expected, as he has repeatedly stated his support for the death penalty. He tweeted that he has “consistently stood with law enforcement, families of crime victims, and advocates for justice in opposing a repeal of the death penalty because it is the right thing to do.”
Nevertheless, the vote did not fall along partisan lines. State Senator Harold French, a Republican, backed the bill as well, saying he had been moved by the testimonies of people he’d heard speaking against it. “As I get older, I realized for a fact we’re actually all on death row and it’s just a matter of time before our names get called,” French told reporters.
The vote was largely — though not entirely — symbolic since New Hampshire hasn’t executed a convicted murderer since 1939. However, there is one person currently on death row. Michael Addison, who was convicted in 2006 of killing a police officer. Thursday’s vote was not retroactive, so Addison’s sentence will remain unchanged.