Recent Legislative Activity

Important pieces of death penalty legislation that have recently passed or are currenty being considered. (DPIC welcomes additions and suggestions.)



 
Legislative News (articles) - Current Year
 
Legislative News (articles) - 2016 2015 2014 2013  2012   2011   2010   2009  2008
 
Legislation - 2017
 
Legislation - Previous Years

2017 - Proposed legislation
States with bills to abolish death penalty indicated with *

State

Description

Status

Alabama

1. HB32 would prohibit the court from overriding a jury's verdict in a death penalty case and require a unanimous jury vote for death to recommend a death sentence.

2. SB16 and SB18 would prohibit the court from overriding a jury's verdict in a capital case.

3. SB12 would permit capital defendants to elect to be executed by firing squad.

1. The bill has been prefiled and will be referred to the House Judiciary Committee

2. The bills have been prefiled and will be referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee

3. The bill has been prefiled and will be referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

California

 

 

Colorado*

SB17-095 would repeal the death penalty for offenses committed on or after July 1, 2017

The bill was introduced on January 18, 2017 and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Delaware

 

 

Florida

SB 280 would amend the death penalty statute declared unconstitutional in Hurst v. State to require a unanimous jury recommendation of death before the trial judge may impose the death penalty.

Bill filed January 6.

Kansas

 

 

Kentucky

SB68(BR-137) would:

-direct the the Legislative Research Commission to create a Task Force on the Death Penalty to study and develop reccomendations regarding the Commonwealth's use of the death penalty for capital offenses;

-require that the Task Force submit a final report no later than December 3, 2018;

-suspend executions until December 3, 2018, or until that report is submitted.

The bill was prefiled on December 9, 2016, and formally introduced on January 3, 2017. It was referred to the Judiciary Committee on January 7.

Louisiana

 

 

Mississippi

1. HB615 would classify "killing a peace officer or fireman ... acting in his official capacity" as a hate crime and requires that any person convicted of a capital murder that is also designated as a hate crime be sentenced either to life without parole or death. The primary effect of the bill would be to eliminate the possibility of parole for a person convicted of killing a person involved in law enforcement or firefighter.

2. HB638 and SB2280 would amend state law concerning the method of execution to provide that execution shall be by "the sequential intravenous administration" of "(a) an appropriate anesthetic or sedative; (b) a chemical paralytic agent; and (c) potassium chloride, or other similarly effective substance."

It also would establish a hierarchy of execution methods if each of the more favored methods of executions are "held unconstitutional or are otherwise unavailable" and vests in the Commissioner of Corrections "the authority and discretion to select and obtain the substances and the means necessary to carry out an execution." The heirarchy of execution methods would be as follows:

  1. Lethal injection
  2. Nitrogen hypoxia
  3. Firing squad
  4. Electrocution

3. HB769 would prohibit the imposition of the death penalty "when a conviction is based solely on circumstantial evidence."

4. SB2185 would require that, in a case in which a defendant has raised intellectual disability as a penalty defense, the jury may not impose the death penalty unless it unanimously finds that the defendant "is not a person who is intellectually disabled."

 

 

1. The bill was introduced January 13 and referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

2. The bills were introduced January 13. HB638 was referred to the House Judiciary Committee. SB2280 was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Division A.

3. The bill was introduced January 13 and referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

4. The bill was introduced January 13 and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Division A.

Missouri*

1. HB135 and SB277 would repeal the death penalty.

1. HB135 was prefiled on December 5, 2016 and officially introduced on January 4, 2017. As of January 20, it had not yet been referred to committee. SB277 was introduced on January 10 and referred to the Senate General Laws Committee on January 19.

Nebraska*

LB446 would abolish the death penalty.

The bill was introduced on January 17 and referred to the Judiciary Committee on January 19.

New Hampshire

 

HB351 would expand the death penalty to include knowingly causing the death of a person who is less than 18 years of age.

The bill was introduced on January 5 and referred to the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.

New Mexico

HB72 would reinstate the death penalty for capital felonies.

The bill was introduced on January 6 and referred to the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee.

Ohio

 

 

Oklahoma

HB 1679, authored by House Speaker Pro Tempore Harold Wright, would eliminate the electric chair as a mode of execution and create the following hierarchy for execution methods in the state:

  1. Lethal injection
  2. Nitrogen hypoxia
  3. Firing squad
  4. "Any method not prohibited by the United States Constitution."

The bill was introduced on January 19 and will have its first reading on February 6.

South Carolina

 

 

South Dakota

 

 

Tennessee

HB 7 and SB27 would provide for automatic direct review by the Tennessee supreme court of capital convictions and death sentences and removes an intermediate level of direct appeal to the court of criminal appeals in death penalty cases.

HB7 was filed for introduction January 5 and officially introduced on January 10. SB27 was filed for introduction on January 11 and officially introduced on January 12. As of January 20, neither had been referred to committee.

Texas

 

 

Utah

 

 

Virginia

 

 

 

Wyoming

 

 

Additional resources: The National Conference of State Legislatures webpage on recent enactments of death penalty laws (2015 and 2016).


Legislation - Previous Years:

2016 Legislation
2014 Legislation
2014 Legislation
2013 Legislation
2012 Legislation
2011 Legislation

 For Years Prior to 2007, see below:
 
Alabama Iowa New Hampshire Texas
Alaska Kansas New Jersey Utah
Arizona Kentucky New Mexico Vermont
Arkansas Louisiana New York Virginia
California Maine North Carolina Washington
Colorado Maryland North Dakota West Virginia
Connecticut Massachusetts Ohio Wisconsin
Delaware Michigan Oklahoma Wyoming
Florida Minnesota Oregon  
Georgia Mississippi Pennsylvania  
Hawaii Missouri Rhode Island  
Idaho Montana South Carolina  
Illinois Nebraska South Dakota  
Indiana Nevada Tennessee *Federal


Other Sources:

2008 Maryland Commission on Capital Punishment

For information on legislative changes proposed or enacted as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Ring v. Arizona, see DPIC's Web page, U.S. Supreme Court: Ring v. Arizona