H.R. 115: Thin Blue Line Act

This was a vote to pass H.R. 115 in the House.

Summary H.R. 115 amends the federal criminal code to include the killing or attempted killing of a local or state law enforcement officer or first responder as an aggravating factor in Federal death penalty determinations. The legislation would cover the killing of any law enforcement officer, firefighter, or other first responder, including state and local officials, who are murdered on duty, because of the performance of their duty, or because of their status as a public official.

The Federal Death Penalty Act and related provisions establish the procedure that must be followed before a defendant convicted of a federal capital offense may be executed. The death penalty may be imposed under its provisions only after (1) the defendant is convicted of a capital offense; (2) in the case of murder, the defendant has been found to have acted with one of the required levels of intent; (3) the prosecution proves the existence of one or more of the statutory aggravating factors; and (4) the imbalance between the established aggravating factors and any mitigating factors justifies imposition of the death penalty.

Under current federal law, killing a federal law enforcement officer is an aggravating factor when considering a death sentence; however, killing a state or local police officer, a firefighter, or first responder is not an aggravating factor.

H.R. 115 adds the murder or attempted murder of any law enforcement officer or first responder as an aggravating factor for a jury to determine in a Federal capital case, when the jury is deciding whether the death penalty is justified. The provision would likely apply in many terrorism cases, such as the Boston bombing case, where the Tsarnaev brothers killed an officer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology during their flight following the attack; or in cases where a state or local officer is killed while serving on a joint law enforcement task force.

Source: Republican Policy Committee

115th Congress
May 18, 2017
On Passage of the Bill in the House

Key: R Yea D Yea R Nay D Nay
Seat position based on our ideology score.
This is a cartogram. Each hexagon represents one congressional district.
Totals     Republican     Democrat
  Yea 271
223 48
  Nay 143
4 139
Not Voting 16
10 6
Required: Simple Majority source: house.gov

Vote Details

Notes: The Speaker’s Vote? “Aye” or “Yea”?
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Statistically notable votes are the votes that are most surprising, or least predictable, given how other members of each voter’s party voted and other factors.

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