Fla. House panel votes to keep death penalty

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida lawmakers are rejecting calls to scrap the death penalty in the state.

A Florida House panel on Thursday voted down a bill that called for the end of capital punishment. Florida currently has more than 400 inmates on Death Row - the second highest total in the nation.

Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, D-Tallahassee, and sponsor of the bill (HB 4005) said the death penalty is too costly and is wrong for moral and ethical reasons. She also questioned whether it is a crime deterrent.

But other legislators defended the use of capital punishment.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, called the death penalty essential to public safety and justice in the state.

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