2011 Legislation

2011 - Proposed or passed legislation (* indicates states with bills to abolish death penalty)

State Description Status
California* Bill (#490) introduced by Senator Loni Hancock to have a referendum on abolishing the state's death penalty, noting its high costs Passed Assembly's Public Safety Com. 5-2. The bill was not voted out of the Assembly's Appropriations Committee, signaling the bill's defeat.  However, a coalition called Taxpayers for Justice announced it will begin the process of collecting signatures to place the issue on the ballot in 2012.  (L.A. Times, Aug. 26, 2011).
Connecticut* 1. A bill co-sponsored by Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield and Rep. Roland Lemar would abolish the death penalty for future cases and replace the sentence with life without parole. HB 6425.  Another abolition bill would apply retroactively. SB 1035.

2. SP 1029, 1054 and HB 6439 would curtail habeas corpus and make victim impact statements admissible in sentencing
1. A similar bill passed the legislature in 2009 but was vetoed by the governor.  The new governor said he would sign such legislation. Joint Judiciary Committee hearing on Mar. 7.  Passed (26-17) in Com. Apr. 12 (prospective-only bill was passed and substituted for SB 1035). Next vote in the Senate.

Two Democratic senators withdrew their support for abolition this year, making passage of the bill unlikely in 2011.  Session ended without passage.
Florida* 1. Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda introduced a bill (HB 4189) to abolish the death penalty

2. Bill would divide the Fl. Sup. Ct. into civil and criminal branches, adding 3 judges.  The purpose is to speed up death penalty appeals.

3. Bill to require unanimous jury findings of aggravating factors and recommendations for a death sentences.  Sen. Thad Altman is promoting the bill.
1. Passage considered unlikely

2. Passed House Judiciary subcommittee in March.
Georgia SR 155 and HR 250 would urge District Attorneys not to seek the death penalty and instead reinvest resources into solving cold cases, services for victims of crime and other public safety measures.  
Hawaii SB 838 would establish the death penalty  
Illinois* 1.SB 3539 would repeal death penalty and use money saved to support victims' families and assist law enforcement (part of 2010 legislative session)

2.HB 1519 would reduce the number of aggravating factors that could lead to a death sentence

3. HB 1520 would require a referendum in 2012 on the death penalty if it should be repealed legislatively.

4. SB 2277 would establish a state panel to approve cases for capital prosecution.
1. Passed House 60-54 on Jan. 6.  Passed Senate  by 32-25 on Jan. 11. 

Abolition signed by Governor Quinn on March 9, 2011. Read Text of the bill.  Bill effective July 1, 2011.  Gov. commuted all death sentences to life without parole and said he would commute any other death sentences prior to the effective date.

2-4. Three bills to reinstate the death penalty have been introduced by Rep. Dennis Reboletti; one of which would put the issue to a voter referendum.  Passage unlikely. Session ended, bills not passed.
Indiana* Bill to abolish the death penalty - SB 344.  
Kansas* HB 2323 would abolish the death penalty and replace the sentence with life without parole for future cases. The bill is sponsored by the Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee.
Kentucky* 1.HB 274 would exempt the severely mentally ill from the death penalty.

2. HB 292 would abolish the death penalty.
 
Maryland* Del. Sandy Rosenberg is the lead sponsor of a bill to abolish the death penalty.  HB 1075 and SB 837. Bill to be introduced Feb. 10.  Hearings in House Judic. Com. on Mar. 15. Session ended without passage (Defeated).
Massachusetts Would reinstate the death penalty - HB 470  
Mississippi Would establish a moratorium on death penalty - HB 127  
Missouri* 1. Bill to help prevent race-based prosecution HB 516

2. HB 517 would allow a right to counsel at clemency proceedings

3. HB 700 would impose a moratorium on executions and institute a study of the state's death penalty

4. HB 799 would repeal the death penalty & create a cold-case fund
 
Montana* SB 185 would repeal the death penalty and replace it with life without parole. Sen. Dave Wazenried is the primary sponsor. Passed Senate Judiciary Committee hearing 7-5 on Feb. 10. Passed Senate 26-24 on Feb. 14. Passed final Senate vote on Feb. 15 and moves to House.  House hearing on Mar. 15.  Defeated in House Judic. Com. on Mar. 18.
Nebraska* LB 276 would replace the death penalty with life without parole plus restitution to victims' families. Passed Judic. Com. 6-1 in March, but unlikely to be finally voted on this year.
Nevada 1. SB 283 attempts to shorten death penalty appeals by withdrawing the requirement of appointing an attorney for post-conviction review

2. AB 501 would impose a moratorium on executions until 2013 and mandate a fiscal analysis of the state's death penalty.
1. Sen. Judic. Com. hearing in April.

2. Moratorium provision unlikely this year; fiscal analysis possible.  Fiscal analysis passed Assembly by a vote of 28-14.  Passed senate, but vetoed by governor.
New Hampshire 1. A bill to expand the death penalty to murders committed in the course of a home invasion; the Kimberly Cates Bill (HB 167)

2. A bill to expand the death penalty for all murders (HB 162)

1. Hearing before House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on both bills (Feb. 1).  House vote on Mar. 15.  House passed HB 167. Senate passed bill with amendment. House passed Senate bill by vote of 211-153.  Bill sent to governor for likely signature.

2. Passed Crim. Justice & Pub. Safety Com., (Oct) recommending passage in Jan. 2012.
New Jersey Sen. Robert Singer introduced a bill to reinstate the death penalty for the murder of a child, police officer, or while committing terrorism. (S-2674)  
New Mexico Rep. Kintigh introduced House Joint Resolution 6 that would put reinstatement of the death penalty before the voters in a 2012 referendum. Bill requires passage by 2/3 of both houses.  Reinstatement appears unlikely. Session ended without passage (defeated).
New York Sen. Gregg Ball (R-Carmel) plans to introduce a bill reinstating the death penalty for the murder of a police officer or corrections officer. Announcement Mar. 4.
North Carolina 1. HB 615 would effectively repeal the state's Racial Justice Act by requiring proof of intentional discrimination

2. HB 659 would exempt the severely mentally ill from the death penatly.
1. Before House Judic. Com. Passed Com. June 1. Repeal of RJA passed by both Houses in a special sessioni. Vetoed by the governor on Dec.  14.  Legislature will have an opportunity to override veto.

2. Passed House Judic. SubCom. B unanimously on April 20.  Bill moves on to Appropriations Com. Passed Approp. Com. June 1.

Both bills had not been passed at the close of the regualr session.  A special session of the legislature is taking place in November that may consider HB 615.
Ohio*

A bill co-sponsored by Rep. Ted Celeste and Rep. Nickie Antonio would abolish the death penalty and replace the sentence with life without parole.

Chief Justice of Sup. Ct. established a blue-ribbon commission to study all aspects of the death penalty.

Introduced week of Mar. 14. Hearings Dec. 14.
Oklahoma A bill to allow execution by "drug or drugs" determined by the Dept. of Corrections, perhaps leading to a single-drug protocol. Passed House 94-0.  Passed Senate panel, March 22. Bill passed and sent to governor.  OK has continued to use a 3-drug protocol.
Oregon Bills to limit death penalty; e.g., prosecution must announce intent to seek death within 180 days of charging murder.  See SB 365, 366. April.

Governor declared a moratorium on all executions.
Pennsylvania*

1. Bill to abolish death penalty - SB 423

2. Bill to expand current death penalty for certain victims - HB317; would make registration as a sex offender under Megan's law an aggravating factor.

3. SB 397 to establish standards for determining intellectual disabiliies as an exemption from the death penalty.

4. SB 6 Resolution to initiate a study of death penalty.

1. Introduced Mar. 24

2. Passed House in early April.

3. Passed Senate in October.

4. Passed Senate on Dec. 14. No further action necessary so study can begin.

Tennessee Bill to exempt the severely mentally ill from the death penalty-HB 2064 Hearing on April 19 in House Judic. Com. On April 21, bill was transferred to a summer study com., thereby putting off its passage at this time.
Texas* 1. HB 819, authored by Reps. Farrar, Allen, and Marquez, calls for repeal of the death penalty in Texas.

2. HB 1641 would establish a moratorium and study of the death penalty

3. A bill to allow the death penalty for the murder of a child under age 11.
1&2. A hearing on the bills will likely be held at the end of March.

3. Passed Senate 28-2.
Utah Bill to restrict death penalty appeals (HB202); would generally bar a court from issuing a temporary stay of execution following a defendant's 1st post-conviction petition. The bill also would limit public funding of defense counsel after that first post-conviction petition has been rejected. There is an exception for new evidence that would alter the case's outcome. Unanimously passed House Judicariary Standing Committe (Jan. 27).  Passed Senate 27-0 (Feb. 17) and sent to governor.
Virginia Bill would allow the death penalty for co-conspirators in cases of rape, where the victim is murdered.  Senator Obenshain's bill (SB 1200). Passed a subcommittee of the Senate Courts of Justice Committee (Jan. 27). Full Committee voted 8-7 to table the bill indefinitely (defeated). 
Washington* SB 5456 would repeal the death penalty  Bill did not get voted out of committee (defeated).
West Virginia HB 2526 would reinstate the death penalty. Hearing in the House of Delegates Feb. 15.  Reinstatement appears unlikely.  Bill did not pass in this legislative session (defeated).
Federal Sen. Patrick Leahy has introduced a bill implementing the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.  The bill would allow federal courts to review capital cases when defendants were deprived of their rights to consular notification. (June)

An execution occurred in Texas on July 7 of Humberto Leal from Mexico who was not informed of his rights under the Convention.

 

Legislation - Previous Years:
2014 Legislation
2013 Legislation
2012 Legislation