2010 Proposed or Passed Legislation

2010 - Proposed or passed legislation (*states with bills to abolish death penalty-7 states)

Alabama Proposed 3-year moratorium on executions introduced by Sen. Hank Saunders  Defeated.
Alaska Bill to reinstate death penalty Sponsor doubts bill will move this year; no further action reported

1.Change to a 1-drug protocol for lethal injections (SB 1018)

2. Hire more appellate attorneys in capital cases to speed up executions

3. Allow the State Supreme Court to transfer appeals to the Superior Court to expedite appeals. (Bills 1-3 introduced by Sen. Tom Harman)

4. Racial Justice Act of California (SB 1331; sponsored by Sen. Gil Cedillo) - to allow challenges to a death sentence or capital prosecution based on race studies

5. California's new regulations for administering lethal injection have completed review under the state's Administrative Procedure Act.  Challenges are expected (Aug. 2010).

 1. Passed unanimously Senate Public Safety Com. on April 20.
Connecticut Bill to cutback on the appeals process Bill defeated.

SB704/HB259-- adds an aggravator for killing someone who petitioned for a protective injunction.

Passed unanimously in both the senate and house. (April 28).  Governor Crist signed the bill and will take effect October 1, 2010.
Georgia HB323 would eliminate proportionality review of capital cases in GA Sup. Ct. Passed Senate Judiciary Com. Defeated--measure pulled from bill for fear of allowing new appeals.  Proportionality review is retained.
Illinois* Bill to repeal the death penalty (HB 262); (SB 3539) Last action in 2009.  House Judiciary Committee approved SB 3539 on a 4-3 vote on Nov. 30, 2010.  The House did not vote on the bill and adjourned for the year.  Bill can be renewed in lame duck session in Jan. 2011.
Indiana Expand death penalty to include murder in the presence of a minor (SB 43) Passage considered unlikely

1. Abolition bill (SB 208) carried over from 2009;

2. Abolition bill (SB 375)

Hearings began Jan. 19; committee vote on SB 375 on Jan. 29; SB 208 tabled.

2. DEFEATED: SB 375 approved 7-4 on bipartisan vote in Senate Judiciary Com. (Jan. 29); full Senate vote expected Feb. 19.  Bill defeated on a tie vote (20-20), with 12 Republican senators voting for repeal.


1. Prefiling of abolition bill by Rep. Tom Burch
2. Administrative review of new lethal injection protocol

3. Bill to exempt mentally ill defendants from the death penalty

2. Public comment period

1. SB 774 would allow death row inmates to waive their direct appeal and proceed more quickly to execution.

2. SB 554 would exempt the state's execution process from the review required by the Administrative Procedure Act.

1. Passed Senate Judiciary Committee.  Passed into law; effective July 1.

2. Passed Sendate and House Governmental Affairs Com.


1.SB 404 would expand the types of evidence necessary for a capital prosecution to include fingerprints and photos

2. Bill to expand death penalty to murders during a sexual assault.

 1. Bill was amended to require jurors to use a standard of beyond a reasonable dobut when sentencing a defendant to death.  Bill as amended was defeated in the Sen. Judic. Procedures Com. (9-2).

DEFEATED: All expansion bills were defeated.

Massachusetts Bill to reinstate the death penalty DEFEATED: bill referred for further study by vote of 105-52.
Missouri Bill to establish a study commission and moratorium on executions: HB 1683/SB 930  

1. Abolition bill carried over from 2009 (LB 306)

2. Substitute bill introduced calling for a cost study of death penalty

1. Bill withdrawn by sponsor

2. DEFEATED: Cost study bill defeated (22-22).

New Hampshire** 1. Study commission currently considering all aspects of the death penalty
2. Bill to expand the death penalty defeated by House by a vote of 201-161. Similar bill introdcued in Senate--would allow death penalty for murders during a home invasion.
1. Commission hearings through 2010; on Dec. 1, Commission voted 12-10 to retain the death penalty, but not expand it.
2. Defeated in House; introduced in Senate. Bill deferred for an interim study until next year (14-10).

1. Bill to allow death penalty for repeat sex offenders convicted of the rape of a child, even though no death occurred-HB 2965

2. Bill(HB 2266) would strike language on the specific type of drugs to be used in lethal injections, giving more flexibility to the Dept. of Corrections in choosing more modern drugs.

1. Such laws were struck down by Kennedy v. Louisiana (2008)

Passed House Judic. Com. Passed House 91-2. Passed a Senate Sen. Appropriations Subcom. on Public safety (bill excludes cases in which victim and defendant are close relatives).

2.  Passed both houses by strong margins and sent to the governor (June 2010).


1.Bill to repeal death penalty and replace with life sentence introduced by Sen. Daylin Leach

2.Bill to prevent instances of racial bias in capital cases- Racial Justice Act-HB 1996

3. Bill to allow judge to determine intellectual disability (mental retardation) before trial in a capital case

 2. Hearing before Senate Judic. Com. in July.

3. Passed Senate.

South Dakota* Bill to abolish the death penalty- HB 1245 In House State Affairs Com. (Feb. 10); Defeated in House Health Com. (8-5) (Feb. 18).
Tennessee Bill to add as an aggravator the murder of a pregnant woman (HB 2693) Passed into law; effective July 1
Utah House bill to limit death penalty appeals by allowing dismissal for procedural faults, rather than a review of the merits (HB 19) Passed House Com. on Law Enforcement & Crim. Justice 10-0; passed House

Bills to:
1. Allow death penalty for accomplices to murder (SB 7)
2. Allow death penalty for murder of firefighters, auxiliary police, and emergency personnel in line of duty (SB 54)

3. Allow victims' family members to meet with death row defendant.

1. DEFEATED: Passed House 74-24; Defeated in Senate Courts of Justice Com. 9-6

2. Passed House 75-23; Defeated in Senate Courts of Justice Com. 9-6, except for auxiliary police provision, which passed in Com.

PASSED: Senate passed bills to allow death penalty for murder of fire marshals (HB 166) and auxiliary police (HB 934). Bills sent to gov.

DEFEATED: a bill to allow death penalty for accomplices who murder law enforcement officials (HB 502). (Mar. 10)

3. PASSED. Effective July 1.

Washington* Bill to abolish death penalty introduced by Sen. Ed Murray  

**New Hampshire Study Commission

Chair: Retired Superior Court Chief Justice Walter Murphy

Death Penalty Issues:
. Does it serve a legitimate public interest such as general deterrence,
specific deterrence, punishment or instilling confidence in the criminal
justice system?

. Is it consistent with evolving societal standards of decency?

. Is the use of a penalty phase to determine the death penalty's use after
conviction at trial arbitrary, unfair or discriminatory?

. Should the narrow application of the death penalty in this state be
expanded, narrowed, or otherwise altered?

. Are there alternatives to capital punishment that ensure public safety and
address the interests of society, the penal system and the families of victims
of crime?

. Is there a significant difference in the cost of prosecution and
incarceration between capital punishment and life without parole for the
convicted capital murderer?.

Other members :

Rep. Steve Shurtleff, D-Concord
Former Attorney General Phil McLaughlin

Hampton Democratic Rep. Robert Cushing

Durham Democratic Sen. Amanda Merrill
Father of slain Epsom police officer Jeremy Charron
Manchester Police Chief John Jasolka

Former Merrimack County Attorney Dan St. Hilaire.

(Source: Kevin Landrigan, "Panel puts death penalty on trial," Nashua Telegraph, Oct. 21, 2009).

The Commission recommended retaining the status quo, neither abolishing nor expanding the existing death penalty. (Dec. 1, 2010).