Many states are considering bills to abolish, reform, or expand the death penalty during current legislative sessions. Some recent developments include: New Mexico’s bill to abolish the death penalty passed the House and Senate and is awaiting Gov. Richardson's decision and signature, likely to come on March 18. In Colorado, a bill to abolish the death penalty and use the resources to pursue cold cases passed the House Judiciary Committee 7-4. In Kansas, the bill to abolish the death penalty passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 6-5, but the Senate voted to return the bill for further study. In Maryland, the bill to abolish the death penalty went to the full Senate where an amendment was passed to keep the death penalty but to require a higher standard of proof for guilt in capital cases. That amended bill is being considered by the House on March 17. Montana’s bill to abolish the death penalty passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, passed the Senate 27-23, and faces a House Judiciary Committee hearing March 25. A bill in Utah to allow the legislature to restrict death penalty appeals failed in the House. More details on these bills and other legislative activity regarding the death penalty may be found on DPIC's Recent Legislative Activity page.
(DPIC, posted Mar. 17, 2009).