District 17 Senate challenger Cheryl Kagan has sent out a mailer criticizing incumbent Jennie Forehand for missing a vote on the death penalty.
In 2009, Forehand missed a vote on an amendment to a bill repealing the death penalty. The amendment, offered by Senator James Brochin (D-42), effectively restricted rather than repealed capital punishment. At the time, we wrote:
The Sun listed Forehand as favoring repeal but she did not co-sponsor the 2009, 2008 or 2007 repeal bills. Forehand voted along with repeal supporters to send the bill to the floor. But she missed the Brochin amendment vote (which initially passed by 25-21 but later had a 24-22 margin after [Senator John] Astle’s vote change). Forehand told the Sun that she was in the amendment room during the Brochin vote. She later voted against recommitting the bill to committee.
Our sources cannot explain why Forehand missed the Brochin amendment vote. When Senators wish to introduce floor amendments, they do not have to physically visit the amendment room – they can just place phone calls. Furthermore, on high-profile votes, legislators who are interested in having their votes recorded rarely leave during those votes. Forehand’s departure was inexplicable, especially considering the fact that she never introduced an amendment.
Nevertheless, even if she had stayed and voted against the Brochin amendment, it would still have passed 24-23 (assuming Astle had voted against it as well). Forehand’s action by itself did not determine the bill’s fate.