PLAN Statement on AB395

Nevada’s Elected Officials Will Continue to Kill Black and Brown Folks


After a month-long wait for the Nevada State Senate and Sen. Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro to hold a fair, public hearing for AB395, a bill that proposes to abolish the death penalty in Nevada, Governor Steve Sisolak and Senator Cannizzaro announced today they have blocked the bill from being heard, just one day before the May 14th legislative deadline. Despite clear support in favor from the Assembly and the community, Governor Sisolak and Senate Democrats have decided to continue this barbaric and racially discriminatory practice that has it’s roots in slavery, and other unspeakable violence against Black Americans. 


The death penalty in Nevada is racially biased — 40% of the people on death row are Black despite only accounting for only 8-9% of the total state population— and the state has the 2nd highest number of people on death row per capita in the nation. Just this past session AB267 was passed to compensate people who have been wrongfully convicted in Nevada’s courts. We can not maintain the death penalty while at the same time acknowledging that our judicial branch is capable of convicting the wrong person.


The decision to block the effort to give AB395 a fair, public hearing is undemocratic and unacceptable. This bill has unprecedented support from Nevadans, the people deserve to be heard.


Laura Martin’s, Executive Director of PLAN, public comment during Senate Judiciary today: 


“In my home state of Colorado, all of the democrats who voted for repeal of the death penalty and faced re-election, won their relections, except for one for very unrelated reasons.


It seems that sometimes a lot of these tough decisions are held hostage by people’s continued political careers. We have to ask ourselves: do we want to be a state who kills people, do we want to be responsible for the death of people who cause harm to our communities instead of doing the tough work and getting to the root causes of why this happens in our state. 


We have the death penalty in place now, but it didn’t stop Amari Nicholson from being murdered. It hasn’t stopped anybody from being murdered. It still continues.


We have to make sure when groups like the Nevada Coalition Against the Death Penalty–who have been doing this work for over 20 years–speak out, the legislature listens. They have been leading these conversations for decades, with people who are directly impacted. This includes victims and family survivors on both sides. They need to be heard and not ignored in order for elected officials to find a political way out. It’s embarrassing to have a legislature that prides itself on being diverse and women led, but can’t get this right. I hope Governor Sisolak and Senator Cannizzaro eventually listen to the community, and not think that we can have a post election cry fest and forget what happened here today. We will never forget if you kill the death penalty bill again.”




PLAN was founded in 1994 to bring together diverse and potentially competing organizations into one cohesive force for social and environmental justice in Nevada.Since 1994, our organization has grown from 12 original founding member groups to a current membership of nearly 30 organizations.