Washington prosecutors say they'll ask lawmakers to send voters referendum on death penalty

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OLYMPIA, Washington — State prosecutors say they'll ask lawmakers to send a death penalty referendum to voters next year.

The Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys issued a statement Thursday saying that prosecutors "overwhelmingly believe that the people of the state should vote on the question of whether the state should retain the death penalty as an option in cases of aggravated murder."

The death penalty has been on hold in Washington state since last year, when Gov. Jay Inslee issued a moratorium for as long as he's in office. Currently, nine men are on death row in Washington state. Death penalty cases in the state are still being tried and continue to work through the system. Inslee's moratorium means that if a death-penalty case comes to his desk, he will issue a reprieve, which means the inmate would stay in prison rather than face execution.

The next legislative session begins in January.

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