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. SB272 would authorize executions by nitrogen hypoxia if lethal injection is unavailable or found to be unconstitutional and would give a death-sentenced prisoner one opportunity to choose to be executed by nitrogen hypoxia or the electric chair, so long as he or she designates the method of execution within 30 days of the Alabama Supreme Court's affirmance of the sentence of death imposed in the case. If the prisoner does not designate a method of execution, the default method of execution remains lethal injection.

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. Introduced and referred to Senate Judiciary Committee on January 9, 2018. The committee approved the bill by a vote of 11-1 on February 14, 2018.  The bill PASSED the Senate on February 22 by a vote of 29-0. PASSED the House on March 20 by a vote of 75-23. SIGNED into law by Governor Kay Ivey on March 22, 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*

1. SB870 would apply Hurst v. Florida to all death penalty cases, not just those that became final after June 24, 2002. 

2. SB1416 would abolish the death penalty.

1. Filed November 14, 2017 and referred to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee on November 29. It was on the committee's agenda on January 9, 2018, but not considered. It was considered and PASSED by the committee by a vote of 3-2 on February 6, 2018, then referred to the Senate Rules Committee.

2. Filed January 2, 2018 and referred to the Senate Criminal Justice; Judiciary; and Rules Committees on January 12.

January 9, 2018-March 7, 2018

Georgia

 

 

January 9, 2017-March 2, 2018

Idaho

 

 

January 8, 2018-March 23, 2018

Illinois

HB 1468 was a bill that would have required a 72-hour waiting period for the sale of assault rifles. Following its passage, Gov. Raumer issued an amendatory veto, seeking to reintroduce the death penalty for the murder of police officers or two or more victims. The penalty for "death-penalty murder" is ostensibly a mandatory death penalty. However, mitigating circumstances may be presented to a judge who could impose a life sentence. HB 1468 passed the legislature with no mention of the death penalty. On May 14, 2018, Gov. Rauner issued an amendatory veto adding an unrelated set of death penalty provisions. On May 31, 2018, the final day of the legislative session, the legislature passed a revised gun-control bill with no mention of capital punishment. Gov. Rauner has 60 days from passage to act on the bill. January 11, 2017-January 9, 2019 (recess June 1, 2018-November 15, 2018)

Indiana

 

 

January 8, 2018-March 21, 2018

Iowa

1. Senate File 335 would reinstate the death penalty for offenses in which a minor is kidnapped, raped, and murdered.

2. House Study Bill 569 would reinstate the death penalty for murder in the first degree.

1. Introduced and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 23, 2017. The bill advanced out of a subcommittee by a 3-2 vote on February 12, 2018, but on February 13 was PULLED FROM CONSIDERATION by the Committee chairman.

2. Introduced and referred to House subcommittee on Public Safety on January 23, 2018. After a subcommittee hearing, the bill passed a public safety subcommittee, but proponents of the measure indicated they did not have sufficient support to move forward with the bill in committee.

January 9, 2017-January 13, 2019

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.

2. SB107 would exempt persons with severe mental illness from the death penalty.

3. HB316 would make the murder of a victim aged 12 years old or younger or a mentally or physically dysfunctioning adult in need of protective services an aggravating circumstance.

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

2. SB107 was introduced on January 23, 2018. The bill was amended in committee on March 1 to remove Posttraumatic Stress Disorder from the list of conditions that would bar application of the death penalty against severely mentally ill individuals. The bill was favorably reported out of committee, as amended, but recommitted to the Judiciary Committee on March 15.

3. HB316 was introducedon February 6, 2018 and referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

January 2, 2018-April 15, 2018

Louisiana*

SB51 and HB 162 would abolish the death penalty for offenses committed on or after August 1, 2018

SB51 was Prefiled on February 21, 2018 and provisionally referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill passed the committee by a vote of 4-1 on April 10, 2018.

HB162 was referred to the House Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice, which held a hearing and voted 10-8 to defeat the bill on April 11, 2018.

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

2. SB1081 and HB2509 would prohibit imposing the death penalty upon a person who was suffering from a serious mental illness at the time of the offense.

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

2. SB1081 was introduced on March 1, 2018 and referred to the Senate General Laws Committee. A hearing on the bill is scheduled for April 11, 2018.

HB2509 was introduced on February 20, 2018 and referred to the House Committee on Health and Mental Health Policy on March 5. A hearing on the bill is scheduled for April 11, 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 Committee on 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*

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

 

 

 

 

2. SB593 would abolish the death penalty and replace it with a maximum penalty of life without parole.

1. 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.

2. Introduced on February 15, 2018 and referred to Judiciary Committee. The committee conducted a hearing on the bill on March 12, 2018 and recommended by a vote of 3-1 that the bill "ought to pass." The bill PASSED the full Senate on March 15, 2018 by a vote of 14-10 and moved to the House.

SB593 was referred to the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, which held a hearing on the bill on April 4. On April 26, the committee recommended by a vote of 12-6 that the bill "ought to pass," and it PASSED the full House that day by a vote of 223-116

Governor Chris Sununu vetoed the bill on June 21.

January 4, 2017-June 30, 2018

New Mexico

HB155 would reinstate the death penalty for the murder of a police officer, a prison employee or contractor, or any victim under age 18. The bill was introduced on January 22, 2018 and referred to the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee, which REJECTED THE BILL by a vote of 3-2 on February 3, 2018. January 16, 2018-February 3, 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. The committee has held three hearings on the bill.

HB81 was introduced with two sponsors and 11 co-sponsors on February 22, 2017. It was referred to the House Criminal Justice Committee on February 28, 2017. The committee has held three hearings on the bill.

 

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 Judiciary Committee.

January 3, 2017-June 30, 2018

South Carolina

1. SB871 would make confidential any identifying information about the execution team, including suppliers of lethal-injection drugs.

2. SB872 would make electrocution the default method of execution. Death-row prisoners would be offered the option of lethal injection if it is available.

1. SB 871 was introduced on January 9, 2018 and referred to the Senate Committee on Corrections and Penology. Favorably referred out of committee on February 6.

2. SB872 was introduced on January 9, 2018 and referred to the Senate Committee on Corrections and Penology. Favorably referred out of committee with amendment on February 6. The amended bill PASSED the Senate by a vote of 26-12 on March 6.

SB872 was sent to the House on March 7 and referred to the House Judiciary Committee on March 8.

 

January 10, 2017-June 7, 2018

South Dakota

HB1123 would exempt from the death penalty persons with severe mental illness.

HB1123 was introduced on January 23, 2018 and referred to the House State Affairs Committee. The committee held a hearing on the bill on January 31, 2018, amended the bill, and voted 9-4 in favor of passage as amended.

The bill PASSED THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES on February 2, 2018, but was tabled by a vote of 5-2 in the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 20.

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 assigned 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*

1. HB379 would prospectively repeal Utah's death penalty.

2. 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.

3. SB30 would expand the death penalty to add as an aggravating circumstance the killings of correctional officers, special function officers, search and rescue personnel, emergency medical personnel, ambulance personnel, and security officers; and clarify that all peace officers and emergency responders as defined in Utah Code are also to be designated as potential victims of aggravated murder.

1. Introduced February 13, 2018 and referred to the House Judiciary Committee. Favorably reported out of committee by a vote of 7-4 on February 22. Subsequently withdrawn from consideration.

2. Introduced on January 22, 2018

3. Introduced on January 22, 2018. Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Committee gave it a favorable recommendation (5-1 vote, with one absent) on January 29, 2018.

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. SB802 was passed by indefinitely on January 17, 2018, meaning that the committee may reconsider the bill at a later date.

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. 2017 legislative session bills HB1935 and SB5354 would prospectively repeal the death penalty.

 

2. SB6052 would prospectively repeal the death penalty.

1. HB1935 was introduced on February 3, 2017 and referred to the House Committee on Judiciary. The bill had a hearing, but no vote was taken during any of the 2017 legislative sessions and, by resolution, it was "reintroduced and retained in present status" on January 8, 2017.

SB5354 was introduced on January 20 by 12 Senators "by request of Attorney General" and referred to the Senate Committee on Law & Justice. No action was taken on the bill during any of the 2017 legislative sessions and, by resolution, it was "reintroduced and retained in present status" on January 8, 2017.

2. SB6052 was prefiled for introduction on December 22, 2017 and referred to the Senate Law & Justice Committee on January 8, 2018. A public hearing was conducted on January 22. The bill PASSED THE SENATE by a vote of 26-22 on February 14.

The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the bill on February 20. The committee voted 7-6 on February 22 to advance the bill to the full House with a "do pass" recommendation.

 

 

Regular Session:

January 9, 2017-March 8, 2018

Wyoming

 

 

February 12, 2018-March 9, 2018

Federal

1. 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.

2. HR 4493/S 2389 ("Eric's Law") would permit a second death-sentencing hearing before a new jury in the event of a non-unanimous sentencing decision in the first death-penalty trial.

1. 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.

2. HR 4493 introduced in the House on November 30, 2017, referred to the Judiciary Committee. S. 2389 introduced on February 7, 2018.

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 carry over 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