SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) --Supporters of a state ballot measure to reform the death penalty and expedite executions submitted nearly 600,000 signatures on Thursday, hoping to qualify the measure for the November ballot.
"Today is a really good day for the victims of crime in California," said Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, one of the measure's supporters.
Backers say the Death Penalty Reform Act would speed up appeals, in part by shortening the wait for defendants to have counsel appointed.
More than 700 prisoners are on Death Row, but only 13 have been executed in California since 1977.
The initiative would force inmates to work and pay victim restitution while awaiting execution. Death Row prisoners would not be housed alone but in double cells, and in other prisons besides San Quentin.
A competing ballot initiative to get rid of the death penalty altogether is also expected to be placed on the November ballot.
Those in favor of "The Justice that Works Act" say it would save $150 million a year and would ensure an innocent person is not executed. The effort is led by actor Mike Farrell (M*A*S*H) and backed financially by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.
It would also require serious offenders to work to pay victims' families. It would also convert death sentences to life in prison without the possibility of parole.