The tied Senate makes all the difference:
“We remain morally opposed to reinstating the death penalty in Iowa,” Sen. Keith Kreiman, D-Bloomfield, the Judiciary Committee co-chairman, and Sen. Robert Dvorsky, D-Coralville, said in a joint statement.
“We also reiterate that there are not enough votes to pass such legislation in the Judiciary Committee or in the full Senate. Instead, we hope the Senate will focus its attention on issues that unite us,” the Democrats said.
Once again the Republicans are exploiting tragedy, using a genuinely horrible event to try to pass a fatally flawed and primitive penalty.
The most eloquent argument against the death penalty I've ever heard is the song "Billy Austin," in which alt-country outlaw Steve Earle takes on the persona of the dead man walking:
So when the preacher comes to get me
And they shave off all my hair
Could you take that long walk with me
Knowing hell is waitin' there
Could you pull that switch yourself sir
With a sure and steady hand
Could you still tell youself
That you're better than I am
Steve's site links you to Citizens United for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. Also, words of encouragement to legislators would be great.