Va. lawmakers approve death penalty ban, send bill to Gov. Ralph Northam

The Democratic-controlled Virginia General Assembly on Monday passed legislation that would ban the death penalty and sent the bill to Gov. Ralph Northam to sign into law.

The legislation, if enacted, will make Virginia the 23 state to do away with capital punishment and the first in the South to do so.

The bill that passed Monday replaces executions with the maximum punishment of life in prison without the possibility of parole, which a judge could amend. It passed on a 22-16 vote in the Senate after originating in the House.

Virginia has the second-highest record of executions with 113 cases since 1976. Texas holds the No. 1 spot with 570 executions.

Mr. Northam, a Democrat, has already expressed his support for ending the death penalty and is expected to sign the newly passed bill.

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