CHICAGO (AP) -- Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has said he supports capital punishment if it's fairly applied, but one of his Republican predecessors felt so uneasy about the state's power to mete out the ultimate punishment that he placed a moratorium on executions that lasted for the past 11 years.
On Wednesday, Quinn plans to abolish Illinois' death penalty at a signing ceremony in his capital offices, according to two of the legislation's sponsors, State Rep. Karen Yarbrough and state Sen. Kwame Raoul, who said they were invited to witness the event.
"It's going to happen," Raoul said.
Quinn's signature would make Illinois the 16th state without capital punishment when it took effect July 1, but any decision to sign didn't come easily.
Illinois' last execution was in 1999, a year before then-Gov. Ryan imposed a moratorium on capital punishment after the death sentences of 13 men were overturned. Ryan cleared death row before leaving office in 2003 by commuting the death sentences of 167 inmates to life in prison.
If Quinn were to sign the bill, it unclear how that would affect the 15 inmates currently on Illinois' death row.
Prosecutors would still be able to seek the death penalty and juries could still impose it until the law took effect.