By Gloria Ogunlade
With an estimated 500 Legislative delegates at the State conference this weekend, any YG participant is bound to come across an interesting, disputable, or even confusing bill topic. But what happens when two controversial bills crossing each other are put in the same room?
Delegates Lance Kyle and Robert King each presented bills relating to the discipline of criminals who committed crimes punishable by death. While King’s bill aimed to eliminate death row sentences completely, Kyle’s bill was almost the complete opposite intending to legalize public hangings. Both delegates presented their bills in the same committee room. Including the questioning period, pro/con speeches, and amendments almost every delegate in the room had something to contribute to both bills.
While Robert King’s bill was unanimously passed by his fellow delegates, Lance Kyle’s bill was rejected by the majority of the room. Both bills questioned the inhumanity of the regular death sentence but sought out different ways to combat it.
“I believe that public hangings are a more humane form of executions as well as a cheaper alternative to lethal injections,” delegate Lance Kyle said. “I chose to do this bill because I learned how inhumane and how high of a botch rate lethal injections have. I chose public hangings because they have the second lowest botch rate.”
The two delegates were not the only ones to do bills on the death penalty, but King’s passion for his bill set his it apart from other similar topics that were spoken on.
“I argued in there that we shouldn’t have to live in fear of death and we shouldn’t maintain order by that fear. I don’t think its right that our Texas government lawfully murders people,” delegate Robert King said. “Since last year, I couldn’t get capital punishment off my mind. It’s why I joined Youth and Government.”
Both students questioned the other during the questioning period when presenting their bill, but remained respectful and professional.
“I believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. If those who are on death row were aware of the lethal injection botch rate, I feel they would find it more humane to have a guaranteed instantaneous death than a slight chance of being burned alive,” Kyle said.
The similar goals of the bills made them debatable and distinctive, but both boys had a very different way of looking at the situation.
“I’m not necessarily angry by it,” King said. “I admire the intention. I just think it should have gone a step farther and stopped capital punishment altogether.”
Although only delegate King’s bill was passed, both delegates went a step further in challenging our actual American protocol.
“We are the only major country in the world that still has the death penalty,” Kyle said. “I would ask our government why we haven’t joined with the rest of the world and outlawed it.”