After decades of defending capital punishment, some conservative Republicans are walking away from the death penalty.
In Kentucky, lawmakers such as Rep. David Floyd, a Nelson County Republican, now oppose executions on grounds of fiscal responsibility and pro-life values.
For Floyd and others, the decision pits two traditional Republican planks against each other: a tough-on-crime, law-and-order platform versus a conservative fiscal approach.
In red states both big and small, bills to abolish the death penalty are becoming more common.
“There’s been a complete change of discussion nationally,” said Marc Hyden, the national advocacy coordinator for Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty. “These are some very strong feelings of fiscal responsibility and pro-life views.”
Floyd’s bill to abolish the state’s death penalty has never made it past committee, but there are signs that more Republican support could help turn the tide in their favor.