Recent Legislative Activity

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

Legislative News (articles) - Current Year
Legislative News (articles) - 2015 2014 2013  2012   2011   2010   2009  2008
Legislation - 2016
Legislation - Previous Years

2016 - Proposed legislation
States with bills to abolish death penalty indicated with *

State Description Status
California* INITIATIVES:
1. A proposed initiative would curtail the appeals process and bypass public review of the execution protocol. Death Penalty Reform and Savings Act of 2016.
2. Initiative on repealing the death penalty, including for those currently on death row. The Justice That Works Act of 2016.

1. Signatures must be gathered to be eligible for Nov. 2016 ballot.

2. Signatures must be gathered to be eligible for Nov. 2016 ballot..


1. SB 64 would allow death sentences with non-unanimous juries if the vote is at least 9-3. Bill amended in committee ti allow death sentence with a vote of at least 11-1.

2. A House bill would allow a 2d sentencing jury if the first one is not unanimous.

Republican proposals in a largely Democrat legislature.

1. After a hearing in Sen. Judic. Com.  on Feb. 10, bill DEFEATED 3-2.

Delaware* Bill to repeal the death penalty. SB 40. Repeal would not be retroactive to those currently on death row. Bill voted out of House Judic. Com. for first time in recent years. DEFEATED 23-16 in House on Jan. 28. Bill had passed Senate and governor said he would sign it.

1. The U.S. Sup. Ct. found FL's death sentencing scheme unconstitutional. Proposed legislative remedies include bills to ensure the jury makes a unanimous determination of at least one aggravating factor and to require a unanimous jury recommendation for a death sentence (SB 330 & SB 7068).

2. HB7101 would require a unanimous jury determination that at least 1 aggravating factor exists. The jury would then be able to recommend a death sentence if at least 9 of the 12 jurors agree.

The retroactive effect of the US Sup. Ct.'s decision is being reviewed by the FL Sup. Ct., which granted a stay in a scheduled (Feb. 11) execution.

1. SB 7068 passed Senate Crim. Justice Com. 5-0 on Feb. 8 and was referred to the full Senate.

2. Passsed House Judiciary Committee 17-1 on Feb. 10 and was referred to the full House.

Kansas* Bill to repeal the death penalty introduced by bi-partisan sponsors, HB 2515. Repeal would not be retroactive. Assigned to House Judiciary Committee, where it is unlikely to receive a hearing this year.
Kentucky* Bill to repeal state's death penalty has been proposed by Sen. Gerald Neal. No hearing scheduled yet.
Missouri* Rep. Kathy Swan (R) introduced a bill to repeal the state's death penalty. Bill has 4 other Republican sponsors and one Democrat. Similar Senate Bill (SB 816). Introduced Jan. 7. Second reading Jan. 11. Passed Sen. General Laws Com. in late January. Put on informal calendar--spelling likely defeat. 
Nebraska REFERENDUM on repeal that was passed in 2015 is scheduled for Nov. 2016. Repeal suspended until referendum. Sufficient signatures have been gathered to place referendum on ballot in Nov.
New Hampshire* Bill SB 463 to repeal the death penalty introduced. Senate committee hearing conducted on Jan. 28.
Ohio Bill to exempt defendants with severe mental illness from the death penalty Sen. Criminal Justice Com. hearings conducted on Jan. 27 and Feb 10.
Oklahoma REFERENDUM: Joint Sen. Resolution 31 (passed in 2015) calls for a state constitutional amendment stating that the death penalty is in effect, that the method of execution can be changed, and that the death penalty is not cruel and unusual. Amendment will be on the ballot in Nov. 2016.
South Dakota* SB 94 was introduced with 24 bi-partisan co-sponsors. Referred to the Senate State Affairs Committee. Defeated 7-2. 
Utah* 1. HB 136 would allow the death penalty if the death of a person occurs in the course of human trafficking and defendant acted with reckless indifference to the loss of life
2. Repeal of the death penalty, proposed by Sen. Steve Urquhart.
1. Referred to the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee. Passed panel 6-3 on Feb. 2 and referred to full House.

1. Bill to prohibit secrecy of drug providers in lethal injections

2. HB 815 would require use of the electric chair if lethal injections cannot be carried out.

1. Defeated 4-1 in subcommittee

2. Passed 14-7 in House Courts of Justice Committee. Passed by full House of Delegates 62-33 on February 10.

Legislation - Previous Years:

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:

2008 Maryland Commission on Capital Punishment

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