State Senator Leland Yee's bill came down to a single vote. In the Assembly, about 35 Democrats were on board. Then, the arm-twisting began. 35 became 36, then 37…all the way to 40. But never 41 - the majority needed to pass. More than a dozen of Yee's fellow Democrats stayed away.
Yee: "We had a number of individuals who basically said, they kinda understand the problem but they did not think that this was the right solution."
The measure would let juvenile lifers who demonstrate that they've turned themselves around ask a judge to convert their sentence to "25 years to life." Yee says he'll keep looking for a compromise.
Yee: "I'm just hoping that there can be enough Assembly members this time that understand how important this issue - this is really not so much about public safety as really providing another chance for our kids so they are not going to waste their lives in prison."
Nielsen: "Year after year after year this insidious injustice returns."
Republican Assemblyman Jim Nielsen says juvenile murderers sentenced to life without parole deserve their sentence and shouldn't ever go free - especially not with public safety realignment now under way.
Nielsen: "Tens of thousands of Californians are gonna be victimized just in this next year. Crime is gonna really resurface as a big deal, top-ten issue. And legislators are gonna be scared to death in an election year to support such injustices."
The bill could come back for a vote as soon as January.