Recent Legislative Activity

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



 
Legislative News (articles) - Current Year
 
Legislative News (articles) - 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013  2012   2011   2010   2009  2008
 
Legislation - 2018
 
Legislation - Previous Years

2018 - Proposed legislation
States with bills to abolish death penalty indicated with *

State Description Status Dates of current legislature*

Alabama*

1. SB128 would allow executions by nitrogen hypoxia if lethal injection is unavailable.

2. SB118 would establish procedures for determining if death-penalty defendants have intellectual disability.

3. SB119 would prohibit the imposition of a death sentence on anyone younger than 18 at the time of the crime, bringing Alabama law into agreement with Roper v. Simmons (2005).

4. SB106 would retroactively apply the 2017 law that ended the ability of judges to override jury verdicts in death-penalty cases.

5. SB104 would repeal the death penalty.

6. SB103 would place a moratorium on the death penalty for a period of three years until certain procedures are implemented to ensure that death penalty cases are administered fairly and impartially.

1. Referred to Judiciary Committee on January 9, 2018

2. Referred to Judiciary Committee on January 9, 2018

3. Referred to Judiciary Committee on January 9, 2018

4. Referred to Judiciary Committee on January 9, 2018

5. Referred to Judiciary Committee on January 9, 2018

6. Referred to Judiciary Committee on January 9, 2018

January 9, 2018-April 23, 2018

Arizona

 

 

January 8, 2018-April 21, 2018

Arkansas

 

 

February 12, 2018-March 14, 2018

California

AB 1443 would require the permanent retention of court records in capital felony cases in which the defendant is sentenced to death, "including records of the cases of any codefendants and any related cases, regardless of the disposition." Court reporter notes in death penalty cases would also be retained permanently.

AB 1443 was introduced on February 17, 2017. On March 13, 2017 it was referred to the Assembly Judiciary Committee and the Assembly Committee on Public Safety, where it was unanimously approved. On May 18, 2017 the bill unanimously PASSED THE ASSEMBLY by a vote of 69-0. 

On June 1, 2017 the bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where it unanimously passed (6-0) on June 28, 2017. On July 20, 2017 the bill unanimously PASSED THE SENATE by a vote of 38-0.

The bill was SIGNED INTO LAW by Governor Jerry Brown on August 7, 2017.

December 5, 2016-November 30, 2018

Colorado

 

 

January 10, 2018-May 9, 2018

Connecticut

 

 

February 7, 2018-May 9, 2018

Delaware

HB 125 would reinstate the death penalty for murder or accomplice murder with 22 aggravating circumstances.

The bill was introduced and referred to the House Judiciary Committee on April 4. It was approved by the Committee on May 3 and sent to the full House. It PASSED THE HOUSE on May 9 by a vote of 24-16.

January 1, 2017-June 30, 2018

Florida*

SB1416 would abolish the death penalty.

Filed January 2, 2018

January 9, 2018-March 7, 2018

Georgia

 

 

January 9, 2017-March 2, 2018

Idaho

 

 

January 8, 2018-March 23, 2018

Indiana

 

 

January 8, 2018-March 21, 2018

Kansas*

HB2167 would prospectively repeal the death penalty and replace it with life without possibility of parole.

The bill, sponsored by 8 Republicans and 7 Democrats, was introduced on January 25, 2017 and referred to the House Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice. A hearing was held on the bill on February 13, 2017.

January 9, 2017-April 7, 2018

Kentucky*

1. SB54 and HB155 would abolish the death penalty

1. SB54 referred to Judiciary Committee on Jan. 4, 2018 

January 2, 2018-April 15, 2018

Louisiana

 

 

March 12, 2018-June 4, 2018

Mississippi

1. HB244 would bar the death penalty in cases where a conviction is based solely on circumstantial evidence

2. HB923 would revise penalties for attempted capital offenses, clarifying that the death penalty shall not be imposed for an attempted offense

3. SB2200 would eliminate the death penalty for individuals with intellectual disabilities, bringing Mississippi law into agreement with Atkins v. Virginia (2002)

1. Referred to Judiciary Committee on Jan. 2, 2018

2. Referred to Judiciary Committee on Jan. 11, 2018

3. Referred to Judiciary Committee on Jan. 9, 2018

January 2, 2018-April 2, 2018

Missouri*

1. SB595 and HB1433 would abolish the death penalty

1. SB595 referred to General Laws Committee on Jan. 9, 2018

January 3, 2018-May 31, 2018

Nebraska*

1. LB446 would abolish the death penalty.

2. LB661 would exempt records from public disclosure that contain "any information reasonably calculated to lead to the identity of any person or entity that manufactures, supplies, compounds, or prescribes the substance or substances, medical supplies, or medical equipment utilized to perform a lethal injection."

1. The death penalty abolition bill was introduced on January 17, 2017 and referred to the Judiciary Committeeon January 19, 2017. The Committee conducted a hearing on the bill on March 22, 2017.

2. The execution secrecy bill was introduced with 11 sponsors on January 18, 2017 and referred to the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. A motion to instead refer it to the Judiciary Committee failed and the bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Government committee February 9, 2017.

January 4, 2017-April 13, 2018

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, 2017 and referred to the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. The Committee held a hearing on the bill on February 7, 2017. On March 1, 2017, the committee deemed the bill "inexpedient to legislate" by a vote of 17-3. On March 8, 2017, the full House upheld the committee decision and rejected the bill by a vote of 305-46.

January 4, 2017-June 30, 2018

North Carolina*

HB604 would repeal the death penalty and replace it with life without possiblity of parole. The repeal also would apply to prisoners currently under sentence of death. The bill was introduced on April 5, 2017 and referred to the House Committee on Rules, Calendar, and Operations on April 6, 2017. January 11, 2017-July 1, 2018

Ohio*

1. HB38 would expand the death penalty to include the murder of a first responder or member of the military.

 

2. SB12 would provide that a defendant cannot be executed if the death penalty cannot be sought or imposed if decisions in pursuing the death penalty were based on the defendant's race. It would permit the use of statistical evidence to demonstrate that decisions were based on race. If reversal of a death sentence would otherwise make the defendant eligible for parole, the defendant would have to agree to accept a sentence of life without parole.

 

3. SB40 and HB81 would prohibit imposing the death penalty upon a person who was suffering from a serious mental illness at the time of the offense.

 

4. SB94 and HB389 would abolish the death penalty.

1. HB38, which has 14 co-sponsors, was introduced on February 7, 2017 and referred to the House Criminal Justice Committee, where it received a hearing on February 21, 2017. On May 17, 2017, the bill was favorably reported out of committee by a vote of 11-0. On May 17, 2017, it PASSED THE HOUSE by a vote of 96-0.

On May 18, 2017, the bill was introduced in the Senate and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 24, 2017.

 

2. SB12 was introduced on January 31, 2017 with 2 co-sponsors and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 1, 2017. 

 

3. SB40 was introduced with two sponsors and 7 co-sponsors on February 8, 2017. It was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 15, 2017.

HB81 was introduced with two sponsors and 11 co-sponsors on February 22, 2017.

 

4. SB94 was introduced on March 7, 2017 and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 15, 2017.

HB389 was introduced on October 23, 2017 and referred to the House Criminal Justice Committee on October 31, 2017.

January 2, 2017-December 31, 2018

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, 2017 and was referred to the House Judiciary - Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee on February 7, 2017. The Committee substituted a new version of the bill on February 9, 2017, which passed the Committee that day by a vote of 10-1. The Committee substitute PASSED THE HOUSE by a vote of 74-22 on February 16, 2017.

The bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 20, 2017.

February 6, 2017-May 25, 2018

Pennsylvania*

SB703 and HB166 would prospectively repeal the death penalty.

SB703 was introduced on May 8, 2017 and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

HB1466 was introduced on May 31, 2017 and referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

January 3, 2017-November 30, 2018

Rhode Island

H5208 would authorize the death penalty for the ambush murder of a first responder.

H5208 was introduced on January 26, 2017 and referred to the House Judicilary Committee.

January 3, 2017-June 30, 2018

South Dakota

 

 

January 9, 2018-March 26, 2018

Tennessee

1. HB7 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.

2. HB345 and SB378 would prohibit imposing the death penalty upon a defendant who was suffering from severe mental illness at the time of the offense 

1. HB7 was filed for introduction January 5, 2017 and officially introduced on January 10, 2017. It was referred to the House Criminal Justice Committee on January 12, 2017 and assigned to the the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice on January 24, 2017. It was placed on the subcommittee's calendar for February 7, 2017.

SB27 was filed for introduction on January 11, 2017 and officially introduced on January 12, 2017. It was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee and placed on the calendar for February 7, 2017.

2. HB345 was filed for introduction on February 1, 2017 and officially introduced on February 2, 2017. It was referred to the House Criminal Justice Committee on February 6, 2017 and assisgned to the Criminal Justice Subcommittee on February 7, 2017.

SB378 was filed for introduction on February 2, 2017. It was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 8, 2017.

January 10, 2017-April 16, 2018

Utah

HB70 would direct the Legislative Auditor General to conduct an audit of the comparative costs of the death penalty capital offenses and nondeath penalty capital cases.

 

January 22, 2018-March 8, 2018

Virginia

1. HB758 and SB802 would eliminate the death penalty for defendants with severe mental illness

2. HB762 and SB772 would grant restitution for the Norfolk Four

1. HB758 referred to Committee for Courts of Justice on January 9, 2018. SB802 referred to Committee for Courts of Justice on January 10, 2018.

2. HB762 referred to Committee on Appropriations on January 9, 2018. SB772 referred to Committee on Finance on January 10, 2018.

January 10, 2018-March 10, 2018

Washington*

1. SB 5354 and HB 1935 would repeal the death penalty.

1. SB 5354 was introduced Jan. 20, 2017 and referred to the Law & Justice committee.

HB 1935 was introduced Feb. 3, 2017 and referred to the Judiciary committee. A hearing was held Feb. 15, 2017.

January 9, 2017-March 8, 2018

Wyoming

 

 

February 12, 2018-March 9, 2018

Federal

HR 115 (the "Thin Blue Line Act") would expand the federal death penalty to make the killing of state and local police officers an aggravating circumstance.

The bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on January 3, 2017 and referred tp the House Judiciary Committee. The Committee advanced the bill on April 27, 2017 by a  vote of 19-12. The House of Representatives PASSED the bill by a vote of 271-143 on May 18, 2017.

January 3, 2017-October 30, 2018

Additional resources: The National Conference of State Legislatures webpage on recent enactments of death penalty laws (2015 - 2017).

*Some states carryover bills between years, while others start anew each year. The dates listed may include multiple legislative sessions in which bills can be carried over.


Legislation - Previous Years:

2017 Legislation
2016 Legislation
2015 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:

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