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SAN JOSE - Gov. Jerry Brown, who has personal reservations about the death penalty but enforced it as state attorney general, said this morning that he is glad a measure to abolish the death penalty will be on the November ballot, though he declined to say how he will vote.

"I think it gives people a chance to express themselves on a very, very important issue, so yeah, sure, I think it will be a good thing," the Democratic governor told reporters after an event in San Jose. "Just like I think it's a good thing that people get a chance to vote on taxes. Death and taxes are things we can't avoid, so it's good that people get to weigh in occasionally."

Brown, speaking the day after a measure to replace the death penalty with a maximum life sentence qualified for the November ballot, said he will "have a lot of time" to talk about his view of the measure. Brown is also seeking to qualify for the ballot a measure to raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California's highest earners.

"I'm not going to get into a death penalty discussion in May," he said.

Brown vetoed death penalty legislation in 1977, when he was governor before. The Legislature overrode his veto, and he said during the 2010 gubernatorial campaign that he would uphold it as governor.

Brown was at an IBM research facility for a panel discussion on business and the economy with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.


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