The NCSL Blog


By Amber Widgery

New Hampshire became the 21st state to abolish capital punishment when the legislature today overrode a veto from Governor Chris Sununu (R).

Rob Spencer prays as New Hampshire lawmakers debate prior to a death penalty vote at the State House in Concord, N.H., on Thursday. The legislature abolished capital punishment by overriding a veto by Gov. Chris Sununu. Charles Krupa/APThe New Hampshire General Court has considered repealing the death penalty annually for the last two decades.

Representative Renny Cushing (D), founder of Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights, a group opposed to the death penalty, has sponsored the legislation every year since 1998. This year, for at least the third time in the last two decades, the bill has made it to the governor’s desk only to be vetoed.

Sununu voiced his opposition to the bill in a statement in early April, saying he “continues to stand with crime victims, members of the law enforcement community and advocates for justice in opposing a repeal of the death penalty.” He later signed the veto in a building named for the victim of the state’s only death row inmate.

Learn more about recent capital punishment legislation in our new State Legislatures magazine article.

Amber Widgery specializes in capital punishment legislation and policy for NCSL.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.