UPDATE Jan. 6, 2011 6:47 p.m. : Via the Associated Press, The Illinois House, reversing an earlier tally, has voted 60-54 to repeal the death penalty. The bill now goes to the Illinois Senate.
A decades-long effort to abolish the death penalty in Illinois has fallen one vote shy of House approval.
House members voted 59-58 Thursday on abolition. The bill needed 60 votes for approval.
Democratic Rep. Karen Yarbrough of Maywood used a procedure that allows her to call the measure for another vote.
No one has been executed in Illinois since 1999 and governors since 2000 have imposed a moratorium on state-sponsored deaths.
Twenty people condemned to Death Row have been exonerated or released because new evidence cast doubt on their guilt.
Proponents say there's no assurance an innocent person won't be put to death.
Critics say heinous crimes deserve the ultimate punishment, and that the threat of death prompts suspects to help solve crimes.