“I believe there will be 24 votes to resolve it consistently with our most important principles as a people,” said O’Malley, flanked by religious leaders.
Although identical legislation stalled in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee two years ago, and the committee’s membership has not changed, O’Malley was optimistic the bill would reach the Senate floor. He said it could happen with either an affirmative recommendation from the committee — or without a recommendation at all.
O’Malley said he felt that even the senators who wanted to keep the death penalty would like to see the issue resolved this year, calling that “a shift that has happened over the course of these last two years.”
A recent survey by The Baltimore Sun showed that 19 senators intended to vote for the bill, while 24 did not. Four senators declined to answer, including Sen. Bryan Simonaire, R-Anne Arundel, who some consider a possible swing vote on the committee.
When asked if he could get the 29 votes needed to prevent a filibuster, O’Malley said, “I believe we can.”
As for how confident he was, O’Malley shared what the Most Rev. Dennis Madden, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, had just whispered in his ear: “Faith before reason.”
O’Malley thanked the religious leaders for their participation and their help in lobbying legislators one-on-one, saying, “You know who the senators are who haven’t made up their mind yet.”
By Capital News Service’s Michael Frost