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Deadline Looms For Quinn On Death Penalty Bill

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Gov. Pat Quinn (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

Gov. Pat Quinn (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

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UPDATED 03/04/11 12:19 p.m.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WBBM/CBS) – As the deadline looms for Gov. Pat Quinn to act on a proposal to ban the death penalty, opponents of the bill are plotting their response.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Nancy Harty reports, Quinn has two weeks to sign or veto the bill before it becomes law on its own.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Nancy Harty reports

Quinn has been meeting with people on both sides of the issue, but reportedly wants to hear from more.

Republicans opposed to capital punishment have called for a statewide referendum. Any such referendum would only be advisory, but it would give people a chance to voice their opinions, Republicans say.

The last execution in Illinois was 12 years ago this month.

For his part, Quinn has said he supports the death penalty when properly applied, but he hasn’t lifted the moratorium. He has said from the beginning that he wants to hear from constituents and would follow his conscience.

During his campaign for reelection this year, he also said he supported keeping the state’s 10-year-old moratorium on executions, which was instituted by Gov. George Ryan over concerns about wrongful convictions.

Quinn’s office tells CBS 2 he will make a decision on the bill between now and March 18.

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