Senate Bill 40 Status: Out of Senate Judiciary Committee

Senate Bill 40 is expected to be debated in the Senate this Thursday 4/2/15 at Legislative Hall in Dover. Your presence would help convey the importance of this bill to the public. However, you can follow the progress of the bill on the website of the state legislature: You can enter the Bill Number in the Bill Quick Search on the top right corner. The Session is GA 148. Bill Type is SB. Number is 40. 

As you can see below, the bill has a variety of sponsors and co-sponsors, both Republicans and Demoncrats from both the Senate and the House. Please write and thank your legislators if they are co-sponsoring the bill. If not, urge your legislators to become co-sponsors. 

The Actions History shows that the bill was reported out of committee with 5 on its merits. “On its merits” in this case means neither favorable nor unfavorable, merely released to be voted on by the entire Senate. Since Senator Blevins was not present during the hearing, I expect that “5” refers to the other five committee members: Committee Chair Henry, and Senators Lavelle, McDowell, Simpson, and Townsend.

Primary Sponsor(s): Peterson Additional Sponsor(s):    Sen. Simpson & Rep. Lynn & Rep. Keeley

Co-Sponsors: Sens. Bushweller, Cloutier, Henry, McDowell, Sokola, Townsend; Reps. Barbieri, Baumbach, Bolden, Brady, Heffernan, J. Johnson, Kowalko, Matthews, Miro, Potter, Ramone, B. Short, M. Smith, K. Williams

Introduced On: 03/18/2015


Synopsis of Bill: This Act eliminates capital punishment, except for those convicted of first-degree murder before the effective date of this Act. The procedures for determining punishment, review of punishment, and method of punishment for first-degree murder related to capital punishment would still apply to those convicted of first-degree murder before the effective date of this Act.

Current Status: Out of Committee   On  03/25/15

Actions History: Mar 25, 2015 – Reported Out of Committee (JUDICIARY) in Senate with 5 On Its Merits
Mar 18, 2015 – Assigned to Judiciary Committee in Senate

Catholic Diocese of Wilmington promotes death penalty repeal bill

In a recent letter to Members of the Delaware Legislature, Bishop Francis Malooly urged the passage of a bill to repeal the death penalty in the State. The letter stated, “Many crimes are so heinous they seem to cry out for the ultimate punishment of death. However, life, every life, is a gift from God, and God alone is ‘the master of both life and death.’” The Bishop added, “The belief that life is precious, every life, and that life is an inalienable right is something that must be encouraged, especially by the State.”

Check out Bishop Malooly’s letter to legislators, coverage about the issue in The Dialog, and statements by Pope Francis opposing the death penalty. Find links at Catholic Diocese of Wilmington. Also on the website, you can use the Delaware Catholic Advocacy Network link to send an email to your state representatives.

Action Alert: Senate Committee Hearing for SB 40 Wed 3/25

DE Repeal logoThe Campaign to Repeal Delaware’s death penalty is in full swing! Here’s how you can help:

On Wednesday, March 18, 2015, Sen. Karen Peterson (D), Sen. Gary Simpson (R), and Rep. Sean Lynn (D), re-introduced legislation to repeal the death penalty. We are grateful for their leadership on Senate Bill 40.

Join Us

  • Help us fill Legislative Hall!  The Senate Judiciary Committee will be held on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at 2pm.  We will need our supporters there early if we plan to fill the Senate Chamber.  Can you arrive between 11:30am – 12 Noon?  Click here to let us know. Getting there early means that you’ll have time to pay a visit to your Senator and Representative and let them know that you favor repeal.

Speak Up

  • Write your legislators and thank those that support repeal.  Ask them what they will do to ensure that SB 40 gets a vote.  If your Representative or Senator does not favor repeal, share the reasons why you think they should.  Click here to send them a quick email.
  • Host a letter-writing party, phone bank, and/or ask one of our field organizers to speak at your next meeting or church service.  Email to schedule.

Speak Out

  • SB 40 is in the news! Visit the links below and leave positive comments on the articles.
  • Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter and help us share breaking news.

WDEL: “Delaware’s Death Penalty Put to Test Again” [Includes Video]

WMDT TV (MD): “Senator introduces bill to repeal death penalty:

News Journal: “Sen. Peterson: Top Dem blocking death penalty repeal”

WBOC TV (MD) [Includes Video]: “Death penalty repeal push back on in Delaware”

WDDE: “Advocates of death penalty repeal start new push at Leg Hall”

DE NewsZap: ”Death penalty repeal bill introduced again.”

Connect with us through our Facebook and Twitter feeds for upcoming events and specific updates on repeal in Delaware and across the nation.

DCODP is a founding member of the Delaware Repeal Project.

Repeal Bill SB 40 Introduced in Delaware!

Today, Senators Karen Peterson and Gary Simpson and Rep. Sean Lynn introduced Senate Bill 40. The purpose of the bill is to repeal Delaware’s death penalty. This is the second time a death penalty repeal bill has been introduced. Introduced in 2013, Senate Bill 19 passed the Senate, but was stalled in the House Judiciary Committee.

Watch Senator Peterson’s comments: WDEL 1150AM – Delaware’s death penalty put to test again.

Read News Journal story: State Sen. says top Dem blocking death penalty repeal.

Write your state legislators asking them to support Senate Bill 40 to repeal Delaware’s death penalty with no exceptions! Click here to use the email form at Delaware Repeal’s website.

DCODP Month Meeting – Mon March 23, 5:30-7:00pm

Join us at our Monthly DCODP Meeting as we plan to repeal Delaware’s death penalty in 2015. Learn about the current campaign. Find out what you can do to help end Delaware’s ineffective, costly, and biased death penalty. Monday 3/23/15 from 5:30 to 7:00pm. LOCATION: Wilmington Friends Meeting House, 1st floor Social Room, 401 N. West St, Wilmington, DE 19801. Park in the parking lot on the 5th Street side or on the street. Ring the doorbell at the West Street entrance. Call 302-379-0488 for info. All are welcome! Invite a friend.


Dear Death Penalty Repeal Supporters,

We need your help to get Delaware’s repeal bill off to a good start. You are invited to join us at three important events in Dover. Come early and bring a friend.

#1 – Help fill Legislative Hall.  The bill hearing is *anticipated* for 1pm or so on Wednesday, March 25th. In the next few days, we expect the bill to be circulated for co-sponsors. NOTE: We need to fill Legislative Hall EARLY. We are calling for supporters to arrive as early as 10:30 or 11am. Please watch for further announcements.

#2 – Wednesday, March 18 at 1pm. Bill Introduction and Press Conference. Please plan to stand with the bill sponsors and faith leaders in the Senate Chambers. RSVP to if you can be with us.

#3 – Ask friends, neighbors, family, and group and church members to contact their legislators. You can point people to the action page at so that we can easily track constituent contact. The message at its core is simple – “I live in your district. I urge you to support the bill to repeal Delaware’s death penalty in all cases.” We will update the language once we have a bMarch16PrayInDoverill number.

#4 – Monday, March 16, Noon – Join us in Dover and, also, share the attached e-flier for the Complexities of Color Agenda’s “Moral Monday Prayer-In” at Legislative Hall. The death penalty repeal bill is but one of a number of important issues being raised at this exciting event.

Feel free to e-mail or call Abe Bonowitz directly at any time with any questions or concerns at or 561-371-5204 or my toll free number, 800-973-6548. You can also reach DE Repeal Campaign Manager Ti Hall at