Recent Legislative Activity
- Research on the Death Penalty - A collection of research on capital punishment, sorted by issue.
- Death Penalty in Flux - Where executions are on hold
- Lethal Injection
- Death Penalty for Offenses Other Than Murder
- Other Sources
1. Sen. Hank Sanders will introduce bills to abolish the death penalty (SB 30); impose a moratorium on executions (SB 33); reform the law regarding mentally handicapped defendants (SB 31), juveniles (SB 34), and judicial override of jury recommendations (SB 32).
2. Bill to posthoumously pardon the Scottsboro boys, almost all of whom received the death penalty for rape in the 1930s before later having their convictions overturned.
3. Bill to allow the death penalty where the victim had previously been given a protective order against the defendant.
2. Unanimously PASSED the Senate and House. Gov. signed the bill.
3. PASSED the Senate 29-0.
|Arizona*||SB 1048 would abolish the death penalty.|
1. SB 73 by Sen. Bart Hester would provide specific procedures and chemicals for the state to use in carrying out executions. Provides for executions by a single barbiturate to be chosend by Dept. of Corrections.
2. Sen. Joyce Elliott introduced bill to repeal the death penalty. (HB 2166, SB 1055)
1. Passed. General hearing on death penalty Jan. 30. Lethal injection bill approved 33-0 in senate. (Feb. 7). Approved in House Judic. Com. Approved overwhelmingly in House. Gov. signed bill (Feb. 20).
2. Gov. said he would sign such a bill, though passage is considered unlikely.
|SB 779 would speed up the death penalty appeals process and allow use of the gas chamber for executions.||DEFEATED in Public Safety Com. (May2)|
1. HB 1264 would repeal the death penalty prospectively.
2. HB 1270 would refer the question of repealing the death penalty to a voter referendum in 2014.
Hearings on bills Mar. 19; no votes taken. Vote will be taken in House Judic. Com. on Mar. 26.
1. House Judic. Com. REJECTED repeal bill (6-4) on Mar. 26.
2. WITHDRAWN by sponsor.
|Connecticut||No death penalty for future crimes, but inmates remain on death row.|
|Delaware*||Bill to repeal death penalty introduced in Senate Mar. 12.- SB 19.||
Bill moved on from Senate Executive Committee (4-2) and will be considered in Senate. House Judic. Com. may consider bill on April 24.
Senate PASSED (11-10) repeal bill, after amending it to exclude current death row inmates (Mar. 26).
House Judic. Com. considered the bill on April 24, but did not vote it out of committee. On April 30, the bill was TABLED, though supporters of the bill are seeking other ways to get the bill to the House floor.
1.Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda will introduce HB 4005 to abolish the death penalty.
2.SB 148 would require a unanimous jury for a death penalty recommendation; would require either a confession or scientific evidence proving guilt for a death sentence to be imposed.
3.SB 1750, the "Timely Justice Act," would speed up death penalty appeals, and require the governor to sign death warrants once the clemency process was completed. It would restore funding for the northern office of the Capital Collateral Representative, lawyers who represent death row inmates after their direct appeal.
4. Bill would make a case death eligible if the victim in the murder was a juvenile.
1. Defeated in House Crim. Jus. Subcommittee (9-4) (Feb. 7).
2. Heard by Sen. Crim. Jus. Com. (Mar. 11)
3. House Criminal Justice Subcommittee-Rep. Gaetz, chair. Passed House Justice Appropriations Com. (Apr. 4). Passed Hse. Judic. Com. 14-4 (Apr. 16). PASSED House 84-34. (Apr. 24).
4. Passed the House. (Apr. 22)
1. HB 355 would add gang membership as an aggravating factor in capital cases.
2. Bill to makes the identity of those who manufacture, provide or administer drugs for lethal injection a "state secret."
|2. PASSED both houses; awaiting governor's signature. SIGNED, but held to be probably unconstitutional by lower state court. Georgia Supreme Court to review ruling.|
|Indiana*||Bill to abolish death penalty introduced|
|Iowa||Sen. Kent Sorenson intends to introduce a bill to reinstate the death penalty.||Governor, a death penalty supporter, said passage is very unlikely.|
1. HB 2398-Bill to abolish the death penalty, replace with LWOP, and provdie funds for victims' families--Rep. Steven Becker. SB 126 would also repeal death penalty.
2. HB 2387 would classify a murder while fleeing from another felony as death eligible
1. Introduced Mar. 7. Bill has been put off until next year. (probably DEFEATED)
2. PASSED House.
|Kentucky*||Rep. Carl Rollins will introduce a bill replacing death penalty with sentence of life without parole. (HB 48 and SB 45)||Legislature convenes Jan. 8.|
1. Sen. Lisa Gladden has introduced a repeal bill for future offenses, with portion of money saved going to families of murder victims. (SB 276; HB 295)
2. Bill to allow the death penalty for murder on school grounds or child care center
1. Hearings in Hse. & Sen. on Feb. 14. Gov. testified in favor. PASSED in Sen. Judic. Proceedings Com. 6-5 on Feb. 21. Victims' support money removed by amendment. PASSED MD Senate 27-20 on Mar.6.
Votes in House of Del. expected week of Mar. 11. Judic. Com. PASSED bill (14-8). PASSED House on Mar.15 (82-56). Gov. SIGNED the bill On May 2. (possible referendum on the legislation in 2014 if enough signatures are gathered). REFERENDUM EFFORT FAILED TO GATHER SUFFICIENT SIGNATURES.
2. DEFEATED as amendments to repeal bill.
|Massachusetts||Bill introduced to restore the death penalty.||House DEFEATED bill 119-38 by sending it to committee for study. (Apr.23)|
|Mississippi||SB 2223 adds terroristic acts as an aggravator in potential capital cases|| PASSED both houses. Gov. signed the bill in late April.
Sen. Joseph Keaveny will file 3 bills:
2. Aggravating Factors : restrict death penalty to only a few aggravating factors (rather than existing 17).
3. Cost: authorize the state auditor to evaluate the costs of the state's death penalty
4. Sen. Gina Walsh will file a bill to repeal the death penalty (SB 247).
3. DEFEATED by Senate 20-10 (May 13).
4. Heard in Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Com. of the senate.
|Montana*||Four senators (2 Rep., 2 Dem.) will introduce a bill to replace the death penalty with life without parole-LC 0019; HB 370.||
Bill has support of some conservatives in legislature. House Judiciary hearing Feb. 14. Com. vote on Feb. 21.
Bill tabled (11-9) (defeated) in committee. Alternative paths to a floor vote being pursued.
Hearings held June 19.
1. Sen. Ernie Chambers introduced a bill to abolish death penalty (LB 543).
2. Chambers introduced LB 542 to delete the aggravating factor regarding heinous, atrocius, or cruel murders as too vague.
1. Hearings on March 13 in Judic. Com. Passed Judic. Com. (7-0; 1 absten.) on Mar. 19. Debate in unicameral legislature May 13.
|Nevada||Proposed bill would authorize a cost study of the death penalty AB 444.||PASSED AND SIGNED BY GOV.|
|New Hampshire*||Rep. Renny Cushing working on a bill to abolish death penalty||New governor supports abolition. Bill to be considered in next session.|
|New Jersey||A-328 and A-1032 would restore the death penalty for certain offenses|
|New Mexico||No reinstatement bill introduced in 2013 session.||No death penalty but 2 inmates remain on death row.|
|New York||Sen. Martin Golden will introduce a bill to reinstate the death penalty for those who kill a police officer.|
1. Bills introduced to repeal the Racial Justice Act and to speed up capital appeals.
2. HB 722 would exempt those with severe mental disability from the death penalty
1. Bill passed out of committee on Mar. 26. Bill PASSED the Senate (33-14). PASSED HOUSE. SIGNED BY GOV. (June 19).
2. Considered in House Judiciary B Subcom. (May)
Committee appointed by Chief Justice of OH Sup. Ct. is reviewing the death penalty.
1. Bill introduced by Rep. John Becker (#244) would allow the death penalty for rape, sexual battery, and sexual contact with a minor.
|1. Law would likely be unconstitutional under Kennedy v. Louisiana (2008).|
1. Bill to require a study of costs and impact of the death penalty
2. Bill would allow the death penalty only in 1st degree murder cases in which the state seeks it. Current law allows a judge to authorize the death penalty after a murder conviction.
1. Bill did not receive a hearing. (Defeated)
2. PASSED both houses; awaiting governor's signature
Gov. Kitzhaber declared a moratorium on all executions for remainder of his term.
Rep. Mitch Greenlick introduced an abolition bill. House Joint Res. 1 would begin the process of abolishing the death penalty by constitutional amendment.
|Hearing in House Judiciary Com. on Feb. 26. Bill died (DEFEATED) in Committee. (Apr. 22).|
|Pennsylvania||Legislative committee is reviewing the death penalty. Reform bills being introduced.|
|Tennessee||SB 0154 and HB 0148 would impose more secrecy regarding the lethal injection process|
1. H.B. 164 would abolish the death penalty.
5. Craig Watkins, D.A. of Dallas County, has recommended introduction of a Racial Justice Act - SB 1270
6. SB 750 would establish criteria for determining intellecutal disability for those facing the death penalty (Sen. Ellis)
7. HB 261 would require separate trials if death penalty sought for co-defs in the same crime.
8. SB 1292 would require testing of all DNA evidence before trial if death is sought
9. Bill to allow the death penalty for the murder of a District Attorney.
10. H.B. 1703 would abolish the death penalty.
8. PASSED Senate unanimously (Apr. 17). Passed and signed. Effective Sept. 1.
9. Being considered by House Criminal Jurisprudence Com (Apr. 9).
|Washington*||Bills to abolish the death penalty introduced: HB 1504, SB 5372--Rep. Reuven Carlyle||
Hearing House Judiciary Com. on Mar. 6. No one testified against the repeal bill.
|West Virginia||Del. John Overington introduced a bill to reinstate the death penalty||Passage considered unlikely.|
|Colorado||Maryland||North Dakota||West Virginia|
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