The Washington Senate on Wednesday passed a bill aimed at abolishing death penalty in the state. The bill is now headed to the Washington House of Representatives for consideration.

The bill, which passed with a 26-22 vote, signaled one of the strongest intents towards abolishing the death penalty as a potential punishment for aggravated first-degree murder, the News Tribune reported. If the bill is signed and then turned into law, the punishment for the crime would be life in prison without parole.

Washington state senator Mark Miloscia, during a floor debate Wednesday, said, “All people deserve to live,” while adding he was in support of the bill partially due to his Catholic faith.

The report further stated two amendments, offered by Republic lawmakers and aimed at restricting the use of death penalty and not abolishing it, were turned down before the final vote took place. One of the amendments would have allowed the possibility of a death penalty in case of the murder of a police officer, while the other would have considered the possibility of the same in the case of killing a correctional officer.

With Washington taking steps towards abolishing the death penalty, let us take a look at the states in the country where the death penalty is still a possibility.

execution room The Texas death chamber in Huntsville, June 23, 2000. Photo: Joe Raedle/Newsmakers

According to a report by Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC), a Washington based non-profit organization which works towards spreading information about death penalty, 31 states (including Washington) in the United States still have the death penalty.

Some of the states include Alabama, Florida, Kansas and Oklahoma.

There are 19 states where the death penalty is no longer in use. Some of those states include Alaska, New Jersey, Vermont, Delaware and Massachusetts, the report said.

Another amendment, which was shot down, was directed towards passing the question of whether to abolish the death penalty or not to the people. The same process was used in 1975 when the people decided to uphold the death penalty, the News Tribune reported.

Washington Republican Sen. Ann Rivers said although she understood the perception of other lawmakers, which signaled the fact that the death penalty was too expensive an option to keep, she believed a life imprisonment was not enough for the people who commit particular types of severe crimes.

Rivers said, “While I see the fiscal argument, the justice piece is diminished by a life sentence and so I couldn’t support it.”

Democratic Washington Sen. Reuven Carlyle supported the bill and stated the death penalty should be abolished in all the cases.

Carlyle said, “I share the moral outrage at murdering law enforcement who put their lives on the line for us, but I think the deeper moral conviction of this work is to strive to be philosophically consistent.”

For the past five years, Washington lawmakers have attempted to abolish the death penalty but their efforts did not go out of the committee. Some of the lawmakers said the reason for the bill going to the state House was due to a change in leadership in the committee that listened to the bill in the Senate, the report said.