Gov. Martin O'Malley will sign legislation Thursday morning abolishing capital punishment in Maryland -- a goal of his since he took office in 2007.
The governor's approval will make Maryland the 18th state to repeal the death penalty. A throng of capital punshment opponents -- representing such groups as the NAACP and the Catholic church -- is expected to turn out for the bill-signing ceremony at the State House in Annapolis.
Also on a signing list of more than 200 bills are measures establishing a legal medical marijuana program and making it easier for immigrants who are here illegally to obtain limited-use driver's licenses.
But it is death penalty repeal that will take center stage. On Wednesday night the Archdiocese of Baltimore announced plans to illuminate the Basilica of the Assumption from dusk Thursday through dawn Friday to celebrate repeal.