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Petition chairman: Maryland death penalty likely won't go to referendum

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Local,Maryland,Andy Brownfield

A Maryland state lawmaker and chairman of petition website MDpetitions.org said voters might not get a chance to weigh in on Gov. Martin O'Malley's bill to end the death penalty in the Free State.

Del. Neil C. Parrott, R-Washington County, told The Capital Gazette that there's no grass roots movement to kill the bill through a voter referendum.

"It's probably not going to be petitioned," he told the newspaper. Parrott is on the House Judiciary Committee that signed off on the bill on March 8, though he voted against it.

High-profile opponents to repealing the death penalty such as Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., D-Prince George's and Calvert counties, have said they expect the measure to be petitioned to referendum and ultimately decided by voters in 2014.

The bill, a legislative priority of O'Malley's, would repeal the death penalty in Maryland and replace it with life without the possibility of parole. It could come up for a House vote as early as this week and is expected to pass.

abrownfield@washingtonexaminer.com

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