Legislature: No Executions on Sundays, Mondays or Holidays

Legislature: No Executions on Sundays, Mondays or Holidays

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Utah Legislature gave final approval to a bill that bans executions on Sundays, Mondays or holidays as a cost-saving measure.

The House approved the measure 65-1 Thursday. The Senate already has passed the measure.

The state Department of Corrections requested the bill because some judges schedule executions at inconvenient times, said Rep. DeMar Bowman, R-Cedar City.

Executioners normally don't work weekends or holidays, when it costs $45,000 in overtime to carry out an execution, he said.

It takes at least a full day of preparation, with the Corrections Department making special arrangements for members of the victims' and inmate's families and rehearsing the execution itself.

Utah traditionally wastes no time, carrying out executions just five minutes after midnight on the day of a court order.

Of the last three executions set in Utah, only one has fallen on one of those three days -- the planned firing squad execution of Ralph Menzies, initially set for Monday, Nov. 10, but stayed by a federal court in September.

The bill now goes to Gov. Olene Walker, who is expected to sign it.

Rep. Gregory Hughes, R-Draper, was the only representative Thursday to break ranks and vote against holding executions on those days. Hughes didn't explain his vote and didn't return a message from The Associated Press that was handed to him at his desk by another representative.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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