All that stands before a repeal of Maryland's death penalty is a swipe of Gov. Martin O'Malley's pen as the General Assembly gave final approval to the bill on Friday.
The House erupted into applause after the announcement of the chamber's 82-56 vote to repeal capital punishment and replace it with life without the possibility of parole. The Senate passed the bill March 6.
Though the death penalty would no longer be the law of the land once O'Malley signs the bill, Maryland hasn't executed anybody since 2005 and only put to death five people since 1978. There is already a de-facto moratorium on the death penalty, as O'Malley's administration has not put into place protocols to allow the executions of Maryland's five current death row inmates.
The repeal of the death penalty has been a legislative priority of O'Malley's since he took office in 2007.