New Hampshire repealed the death penalty on Thursday after the state legislature voted to override a veto from GOP Gov. Chris Sununu, making it the 21st state to abolish the punishment in the US.
Following Sununu’s veto of a bill repealing the state’s death penalty earlier this month, the state House voted to override it last week, and on Thursday, the state Senate voted to override as well. The language of the bill said it would go into effect after passage, meaning as of Thursday, New Hampshire eliminated the state’s rarely invoked option for capital punishment.
An official at the state Senate office confirmed to CNN the Senate voted 16-8 to override the veto and end the state’s death penalty.
“I have consistently stood with law enforcement, families of crime victims and advocates for justice in opposing a repeal of the death penalty because it is the right thing to do,” Sununu said in a tweet. “I am incredibly disappointed that the Senate chose to override my veto.”
The bill repealing the death penalty stated that a person convicted of a capital murder “shall be sentenced to imprisonment for life without the possibility for parole” and struck the provision allowing for the death penalty. The bill said the repeal would apply to people convicted “on or after” passage of the measure.
The state legislature narrowly reached the two-thirds threshold in both the House and Senate for overriding a veto in New Hampshire, reflecting contention around the death penalty. This year alone has seen members of the US Supreme Court feuding openly about its use and California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom placing a moratorium on the death penalty in his state.
Prior to New Hampshire’s repeal, 30 states as well as the federal government and military had a death penalty, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. The same group said 2019 had seen a total of eight executions nationwide as of May 24. As of late 2018, New Hampshire had one person on death row, with the state last executing someone in 1939.
CNN’s Tony Marco contributed to this report.