The death penalty abolition bill we mentioned in yesterday's Daily Must Read has passed its state assembly committee hearing, according to a tweet posted this morning by Chron reporter Marissa Lagos. The bill, written by state senator Loni Hancock, would end capital punishment in California, which has become a major point of contention with the exigencies of our current budget crisis. In recent years the death penalty debate has shifted from moral to financial terms. It has cost the state $4 billion since 1978, as we reported yesterday. Moreover, ending the death penalty would reduce the state budget by $184 million a year, the Los Angeles Times reports.