May 30 (UPI) -- The New Hampshire Senate on Thursday voted to override a gubernatorial veto of a repeal of the death penalty in the state.
The chamber achieved the 16 votes necessary to prevent Gov. Chris Sununu's veto with a 16-8 vote. Earlier this week, Sununu promised to veto the legislature's bill to repeal the death penalty.
The repeal is not retroactive, meaning the sole inmate on death row in the state, Michael Addison, will not escape execution.
The Republican governor said he fought in favor of keeping the death penalty because it is "the right thing to do."
"I have consistently stood with law enforcement, families of crime victims and advocates for justice in opposing a repeal of the death penalty because it is the right thing to do," he said Thursday. "I am incredibly disappointed that the Senate chose to override my veto."
New Hampshire joins 20 other states and the District of Columbia in abolishing the death penalty. Another four states have a gubernatorial moratorium on the punishment.
Robert Dunham, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said the New Hampshire vote is indicative of a growing movement away from capital punishment in the United States. The national non-profit organization does not take a position on the death penalty, but has been critical of the way it's been administered.
"The New Hampshire appeal, along with California's moratorium and Oregon's limitations ... reflect this ongoing rethinking of capital punishment in the United States," Dunham told UPI.
He praised the New Hampshire legislature's bipartisan effort to reach an agreement as "extraordinary."
"The traditional liberal concerns with fair process and avoiding economic and racial discrimination merged with traditional conservative concerns that jettison policies that are wasteful and do not contribute to public safety," Dunham said.
"Here what we saw in New Hampshire was a coalition of progressives, moderates and conservatives coming together to reach a bipartisan policy consensus in a respectful and very informative debate."