Lawmakers prepare response for Quinn's death penalty decision

 
 
Updated 3/3/2011 7:31 PM
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  • Pat Quinn

    Pat Quinn

  • Dennis Reboletti

    Dennis Reboletti

  • Kirk Dillard

    Kirk Dillard

SPRINGFIELD -- With the clock ticking on the time Gov. Pat Quinn has to act on legislation that would abolish the death penalty, some suburban Republican lawmakers Thursday were already planning their response.

Rep. Dennis Reboletti of Elmhurst has proposed legislation that would call for a statewide advisory referendum on the death penalty if it's abolished.

"I'm of the firm belief that the people of Illinois still support a death penalty," he said.

Quinn has until later this month to sign or veto the legislation, but he could act sooner.

The governor has been secretive about his plans for the death penalty and a spokeswoman for Quinn wouldn't describe them Thursday.

The governor has taken heat for taking his time with the decision. A DuPage County judge in January called the delay "grossly irresponsible."

Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale has proposed creating a panel of Illinoisans from different areas across the state who would weigh in on cases and decide whether the death penalty is appropriate.

Reboletti and Dillard laid out their plans at a meeting with reporters at the Capitol Thursday.

Quinn's decision likely could help define his legacy. The death penalty helped define the term of former Gov. George Ryan, who cleared death row before he left office in 2003.

Ryan was influenced at least in part by the wrongful conviction of Rolando Cruz and Alejandro Hernandez in the murder of Naperville's Jeanine Nicarico.