Recent Legislative Activity

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



 

A board displays the vote totals in the New Hampshire House of Representatives on HB 455, which would abolish the death penalty. (March 7, 2019)

Legislative News (articles) - Current Year
 
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Legislation - 2019
 
Legislation - Previous Years

2019 - Proposed legislation
States with bills to abolish death penalty indicated with *

State Description Status Dates of current legislature^

Alabama

1. HB 59 would expand the state's death-penalty statute to make the killing of a first responder a capital offense.

2. HB 273 would place a three year moratorium on the death penalty. During that time, the state would be required to implement reforms to improve due process and quality of representation, and to reduce racial discrimination in the application of the death penalty.

2. HB 436 would permit non-immediate family members of the victim to witness the execution, if there are fewer than eight immediate family members.

1. Introduced and referred to the House Committee on Judiciary on March 5, 2019. PASSED the full House by a vote of 94-0 on April 18.

2. Introduced and referred to the House Committee on Judiciary on March 21, 2019.

2. Introduced April 16, 2019 and referred to the Committee on State Government.

March 25, 2019-May 23, 2019

Arizona*

1. SB 1192 would exempt people with serious mental illness from the death penalty.

2. SB 1209 would abolish the death penalty.

3. SB 1314 would eliminate three aggravating circumstances and combine two currently separate aggravating circumstances, reducing the number of cases that would be eligible for the death penalty.

1. Introduced January 28, 2019. Referred to Rules Committee and Judiciary Committee.

2. Introduced January 28, 2019. Referred to Rules Committee and Judiciary Committee.

3. SB 1314 was introduced January 31, 2019 and referred to Senate Rules Committee and Judiciary Committee. It PASSED the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 7 by a vote of 7-0 and PASSED the full Senate on February 14, advancing to the House of Representatives by a vote of 30-0. It PASSED the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 10-0 on March 6, and PASSED the full House by a vote of 46-14 on April 3. Governor Doug Ducey SIGNED IT INTO LAW on April 4.

January 14, 2019-May 11, 2019

Arkansas

1. HB 1494 would bar imposition of the death penalty on a defendant with severe mental illness.

2. HB 1520 would limit the choices for a condemned prisoner's last meal to the food being served in the prison on the day of the execution.

3. SB 464 would conceal from the public information relating to execution drug suppliers and the execution process and make it a felony to reckless disclose any such information.

1. Introduced February 18, 2019 and referred to the House Judiciary Committee, where it was defeated by a vote of 11-5 on March 7.

2. Introduced February 20, 2019 and referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

3. Introduced March 4, 2019 and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where it PASSED by a vote of 5-3 on March 6. The bill PASSED the full Senate by a vote of 25-9 on March 11 and was introduced in the House and referred to the House Judiciary Committee the same day. On April 2, the committee recommended that the bill PASS, and the bill PASSED the full House by a vote of 71-16 on April 3. Governor Asa Hutchinson SIGNED ACT 810 INTO LAW on April 9.

January 14, 2019-May 2, 2019

California*

1. ACA 12 would amend the California consitution to provide that "The death penalty shall not be imposed as a punishment for any violations of law."

2. AB-580 would amend the procedures for commutations of death sentences, requiring that the governor notify victims' families and allowing victims' families to request a public hearing before a commutation is granted. A commutation would not go into effect until at least 30 days after such a hearing.

1. Introduced March 13, 2019.

2. Referred to Committee on Public Safety, Feb. 25, 2019. Amended by author on April 1 and re-referred to committee on April 2.

December 3, 2018-November 30, 2020

Colorado*

SB 19-182 would repeal the death penalty.

Introduced March 4, 2019 and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee conducted a hearing on the bill on March 6 and voted 3-2 to PASS the bill. After several postponements of a floor vote, proponents of the bill announced on April 2 that they were withdrawing it from consideration during the current legislative session.

January 4, 2019-May 11, 2019

Florida*

SB 472/HB6013 would abolish the death penalty.

SB 472 was filed January 24, 2019 and referred to the committees on criminal justice and appropriations. HB 6013 was filed January 15, 2019 and referred to the Judiciary Committee.

March 5, 2019-May 3, 2019

Georgia*

1. HB 267 would bar the death penalty in cases in which the only evidence of guilt is the testimony of a single eyewitness.

2. HB 702 would repeal the death penalty and resentence those currently on death row to life without parole.

1. Introduced on February 12, 2019.

2. Introduced on March 28, 2019 and referred to the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee.

January 14, 2019-March 20, 2020

Idaho

 

 

January 7, 2019-March 30, 2019

Indiana*

SB 301 would abolish the death penalty and resentence those currently on death row to life without possibility of parole.

Introduced on January 7, 2019 and referred to the Senate Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law.

January 3, 2019-April 21, 2019

Iowa

SF 296 would reinstate the death penalty for the crime of kidnapping, rape, and murder of a minor.

Introduced February 19, 2019. Referred to Judiciary Committee. A subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee voted 3-2 on February 27 to recommend passage of the bill. The Judiciary Committee PASSED the bill on March 7 by a vote of 8-7. The bill died after failing to meet the April 5 "second funnel" deadline for approval by committees in both Houses of the legislature.

January 14, 2019-April 21, 2020

Kansas*

1. HB 2282 and SB 21 would abolish the death penalty.

2. SB 95 would require the board of healing arts and board of pharmacy to be involved in decisions related to lethal-injection protocols.

3. SB 96 would require annual inspections of the execution chamber.

1. SB 21 was introduced on January 17, 2019 and referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

HB 2282 was introduced on February 12, 2019 and referred to the Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice, which conducted a hearing on the bill on February 19. The committee voted 7-6 on February 22 to defeat the bill.

2. Introduced February 5, 2019 and referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

3. Introduced February 5, 2019 and referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

January 14, 2019-April 21, 2020

Kentucky*

1. SB 17 would exempt people with serious mental illness from execution.

2. HB 115 would abolish the death penalty and convert all current death sentences to sentences of life without parole.

1. Prefiled August 31, 2018. Reported favorably by the Senate Judiciary Committee, February 7, 2019. Sent to Rules Committee, February 8, 2019. Recommitted to the Judiciary Committee, March 1, 2019.

2. Introduced January 8, 2019 and referred to House Judiciary Committee on January 10.

January 8, 2019-March 30, 2019

Louisiana*

1. HB 215 would abolish the death penalty for offenses committed on or after August 1, 2019.

2. SB 112 would amend the state constitution to abolish the death penalty for crimes committed on or after January 1, 2020.

3. HB 258 would make secret the source of Louisiana's execution drugs.

1. Prefiled March 27, 2019. Referred to the Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice.

2. Prefiled March 27, 2019. Referred to the Committee on Judiciary.

3. Prefiled March 27, 2019. Referred to the Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice.

April 8, 2019-June 6, 2019

Mississippi

1. SB 2149 would eliminate the death penalty for people who are intellectually disabled. (Intellectually disabled offenders are ineligible for the death penalty under the U.S. Supreme Court's 2002 ruling in Atlins v. Virginia.) Where intellectual disability has been raised as a defense, it would require a unanimous finding by the jury that the defendant was not intellectually disabled before a death penalty could be imposed.

2. HR 8 would apologize for Mississippi's role in the lynching of Emmett Till and the acquittal of his killers.

1. Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee on January 14, 2019. Died in committee, February 5.

2. Referred to Rules Committee on January 15, 2019. Died in committee, March 29.

January 8, 2019-March 30, 2019

Missouri*

1. SB 462 would exempt people with serious mental illness from the death penalty.

2. SB 32/HB 64 would repeal the death penalty.

3. SB 288 would eliminate the provision that allows a judge to impose a death sentence if a jury does not reach a unanimous sentencing decision.

4. SB 462 would eliminate the death penalty for people with serious mental illness.

1. First read February 27, 2019 and referred to the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on March 11. The committee conducted a hearing on the bill on April 16.

2. SB 32 prefiled December 1, 2018. First read January 9, 2019. Second read January 17, referred to General Laws Committee. HB 64 prefiled December 3, 2018. First reading January 9, 2019. Second reading January 10.

3. First read January 23, 2019. Referred to Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, which held a hearing on April 16.

4. First read February 27, 2019. Referred to Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee, which held a hearing on April 16.

January 9, 2019-May 31, 2019

Montana*

1. HB 350 would abolish the death penalty and replace it with life without parole.

2. HB 338 would require indisputable DNA or video proof of a person's guilt in a capital crime before the defendant could be sentenced to death.

1. Introduced on January 31, 2019 and referred to the House Judiciary Committee, which held a hearing on the bill on February 18. On a straight party-line vote, the committee voted 11-8 to TABLE the bill. All 11 Republicans voted to table the bill; all 8 Democrats voted to keep the bill under active consideration.

2. The House Judiciary Committee voted 15-4 on February 18 to reject the bill.

 

Nebraska*

1. LB 44 would eliminate the death penalty as a punishment for first-degree murder.

2. LB 207 would establish a Death Penalty Defense Standards Advisory Council to examine the current capital defense system in Nebraska and develop guidelines and standards for capital defense representation.

3. LB 238 would change provisions relating to witnessing executions to make executions more transparent.

4. LB472 would authorize Gage County to levy a 0.5% sales tax to raise revenue to help pay the $28.1 million judgment against the county in the "Beatrice Six" wrongful conviction case.

 

 

1. Introduced on January 10, 2019 and referred to the Judiciary Committee on January 14. The Committee conducted a hearing on the bill on March 7 and on March 15 voted 5-2 to advance the bill to the full Senate.

2. Introduced on January 11, 2019 and referred to the Judiciary Committee on January 15. The Committee conducted a hearing on the bill for March 7.

3. Introduced on January 14, 2019 and referred to the Judiciary Committee on January 16. The Committee conducted a hearing on the bill for March 7.

4. Introduced on January 18 and referred to the Revenue Committee on January 23. It was designated a priority bill and placed on the legislature's "general file" on March 20 for consideration by the full unicameral legislature. It received a favorable 40-1 vote on first consideration on April 5, the initial stage of legislative approval. An amendment to require a county referendum before the county could impose the sales tax was defeated by a vote of 22-9 on April 10. /p>

January 9, 2019-April 15, 2020

Nevada*

AB 149 would abolish the death penalty.

AB 149 was introduced on February 15, 2019 and referred to the House Judiciary Committee. On April 13 the bill died in committee when the time limit for action on the bill expired.

February 4, 2019-June 4, 2019

New Hampshire*

HB 455 would abolish the death penalty.

Introduced on January 3, 2019 and referred to the House Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety, which conducted a hearing and heard testimony from more than 90 witnesses on the bill on February 19. By a vote of 11-6, the committee voted to PASS the bill. PASSED the House of Representatives 279-88 on March 7, 2019.

Introduced in the state senate on March 14 and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 19. After conducting a hearing on March 26, the committee voted 4-1 on April 2 to PASS the bill. PASSED the Senate 17-6 on April 11.

January 2, 2019-June 30, 2019

North Carolina

    January 16, 2019-June 30, 2020

Ohio

    January 7, 2019-December 31, 2020

Oklahoma

    February 5, 2019-May 25, 2020

Oregon

1. HB 3268 and SB 1013 would redefine aggravated murder to limit future application of the death penalty to certain acts of terrorism resulting in the deaths of two or more people and resentence those currently on death row to terms of life imprisonment without possibility of parole.

2. HB 3269 would remove future dangerousness as factor the jury may consider in deciding whether to impose the death penalty, require proof beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant should be sentenced to death, and establish procedures for resentencing those currently on death row to life imprisonment without possibility of parole.

1. HB3268 was introduced on March 4, 2019. SB 1013 was introduced on March 4, 2019 and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 6. The committee conducted a public hearing on the bill on April 1. At a work session on April 8, the Senate version of the bill was amended. Under the amended bill, capital crimes include terrorism, murder committed by a prisoner who had been previously convicted of murder, and murder of a victim under 14 years old.

2. Introduced on March 4, 2019.

January 14, 2019-June 1, 2019

Pennsylvania

    January 1, 2019-November 30, 2020

South Carolina*

1. H 3301 & S 0176 would make electrocution the default method of execution, but would allow prisoners to select execution by lethal injection if lethal injection is available.

2. H 3354 would prevent disclosure of identities of members of the execution team, including providers of lethal-injection drugs or medical supplies.

3. S 0047 would abolish the death penalty and life without parole for juvenile offenders. (Juvenile offenders are ineligible for the death penalty under the U.S. Supreme Court's 2005 ruling in Roper v. Simmons.)

4. S 0058 would abolish the death penalty.

1. H 3301 prefiled and referred to the House Committee on Judiciary, December 18, 2018. S 0176 prefiled and referred to the Senate Committee on Corrections and Penology, December 12, 2018. PASSED the Senate by a vote of 26-13 on January 30, 2019 and advanced to consideration by the House. It was referred to the House Judiciary Committee on January 31.

2. Prefiled and referred to the Committee on Judiciary, December 18, 2018. It was formally introduced and referred to committee on January 8, 2019.

3. Prefiled and referred to the Committee on Judiciary, December 12, 2018. It was formally introduced and referred to committee on January 8, 2019.

4. Prefiled and referred to the Committee on Judiciary, December 12, 2018. It was formally introduced and referred to committee on January 8, 2019.

January 8, 2019-June 8, 2020

South Dakota

SB 71 would prohibit capital punishment of any person with severe mental illness. Introduced on January 23 and referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. After a hearing on February 7, the Committee voted 4-3 to defeat the bill. The bill was recalled from committee on February 11 and on February 12 passed for consideration by the full House by a vote of 5-2. The full Senate voted 21-12 on February 13 to DEFEAT the bill.  January 8, 2019-March 29, 2019

Tennessee

1. HB 0705/SB 1368 would add the sale or distribution of opiates with the intent and premeditation to commit murder as an aggravating circumstance for the imposition of the death penalty or life without parole.

2. SB 0031 and HB 1455/SB 1124 would abolish the death penalty for defendants with severe mental illness.

3. HB 0258/SB 0400 would remove the appeal to the court of criminal appeals in death penalty cases and provide for automatic direct review by the Tennessee supreme court.

1. Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee on February 11, 2019.

2. SB 31 introduced January 11, 2019, referred to Senate Judiciary Committee. WITHDRAWN February 12, 2019.

HB1455/SB1124 were introduced February 6, 2019. HB1455 was referred to the House Judiciary Committee on February 11 and assigned to the Criminal Justice Subcommittee on February 13. It was favorably reported out of subcommittee on March 13.

SB1124 was referred to Senate Judiciary Committee on February 11, 2019.

3.  SB 0400 introduced January 31, 2019, referred to Senate Judiciary Committee. PASSED committee February 26.

HB 0258 introduced January 29, 2019, referred to Judiciary - Government Operations Committee, Constitutional Protections & Sentencing Subcommittee. PASSED the House 73-22 on March 18. SIGNED INTO LAW April 9 by Governor Bill Lee.

January 8, 2019-May 8, 2020

Texas*

1. SB 294/HB 246/HB336 would abolish the death penalty.

2. HB 221 would change the standards for attorneys representing indigent defendants in capital cases.

3. SB 246 changes the membership of the capital and forensic writs committee and gives it greater independence from the judiciary. 

4. HB 1139 and SB 418 would provide a statutory definition of intellectual disability for purposes of exemption from capital prosecution. The bills define intellectual disability according to prevailing medical standards and establish pretrial procedures for a judicial determination of whether the defendant is intellectually disabled. 

5. HB 1030 would require jury unanimity in any penalty-phase special issues finding that could subject a defendant to the death penaltySB 716 also would permit the court or the parties to inform the jury or prospective jurors of the effect of the jury not reaching agreement on any of the special issues submitted to the jury during the penalty phase of trial. 

6. SB 714 would expand the definition of capital murder to include the murder of emergency medical services personnel.

7. HB 1936 would exempt people with severe mental illness from the death penalty.

8. SB 929 would eliminate the death penalty for people convicted under the law of parties.

9. HB 261 would make the murder of anyone under age 15 eligible for the death penalty, raising the age from 10 to 15. 

1. Senate version filed January 3, 2019 and referred to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee on February 7, 2019. House Bill 246 filed November 12, 2018. House Bill 336 filed November 13, 2018.

2. Filed November 12, 2018. Referred to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee on February 7, 2019.

3. Filed December 14, 2018. Referred to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee on February 7, 2019.

4. The Senate version of the biill was filed January 23, 2019 and referred to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee on February 14. The House version was filed January 28, 2019. A hearing was held in House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on March 18.

5. The House version of the bill was filed January 23, 2019. The Senate version was filed February 8, 2019.

6. Filed February 8, 2019.

7. Filed February 19, 2019. Read first time and referred to Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on March 5.

8. Filed February 20, 2019. Read first time and referred to Criminal Justice Committee on March 1.

9. Filed November 12, 2018. Referred to Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence on February 19, 2019. Public hearing April 1, 2019.

January 8, 2019-May 27, 2019

Utah

    January 28, 2019-March 14, 2019

Virginia

SB 1137 would exempt people with serious mental illness from the death penalty.

Prefiled December 30, 2018. PASSED Senate Courts of Justice Committee (8-6) on January 14, 2019. PASSED Senate (23-17) on January 17, 2019.

Referred to the House Committee for Courts of Justice on January 21, 2019.

January 9, 2019-March 9, 2019

Washington

SB 5339 would remove the death penalty from Washington's laws, bringing it in line with the 2018 Washington Supreme Court ruling striking down the death penalty. Introduced on January 17 and referred to the Senate Committee on Law & Justice. After a public hearing on February 5, the bill Passed the committee on February 7 with 4-1 recommendation, 2019. The bill PASSED the State Senate on February 15 by a vote of 28-19. It was referred to the House Committee on Public Safety on February 18, which conducted a public hearing on the bill on March 25 and voted to Pass the bill on April 1.  January 14, 2019-April 28, 2019

Wyoming*

HB 145 would repeal the death penalty and replace it with a maximum sentence of life without parole. Introduced January 15, 2019 and referred to House Committee on Labor, Health & Social Services, where it Passed by a vote of 5-4 on January 24. On January 31, it PASSED the House on second reading and received FINAL PASSAGE in the House by a vote of 36-21 on February 1. Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee on February 5, where it Passed by a vote of 4-0 on February 13. The bill was DEFEATED in the full Senate on February 14 by a vote of 18-12.  January 8, 2019-March 9, 2019

Federal

HR 99 would provide additional aggravating factors for the imposition of the death penalty based on the status of the victim.

Introduced January 3, 2019. January 3, 2019-October 30, 2020

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:

2018 Legislation
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