There have been at least three states have debated jury nullification bills this year including Iowa HB 542 and SB 318 and Montana HB 332. So far, only New Hampshire’s HB 146 has progressed (Montana’s bill was tabled after a committee hearing and Iowa’s bills were never taken up).
New Hampshire HB 146, as introduced, provided
In all court proceedings the court shall instruct the jury of its inherent right to judge the law as well as the facts and to nullify any and all actions they find to be unjust. The court is mandated to permit the defendant or counsel for the defendant to explain this right of jury nullification to the jury.
The bill was originally rejected by the House Judiciary Committee in February. However, an amended version was later approved, removing the word “inherent” and rewording the reference to law and facts “mandate” on the court. As amended, it now reads
In all court proceedings the court shall instruct the jury of its right to judge the facts and the application of the law in relationship to the facts in controversy. The court shall permit the defendant or counsel for the defendant to explain this right to the jury.
Both versions included legislative findings:
Under the decisions of both the New Hampshire supreme court and the United States Supreme Court, the jury has the right to judge the facts and the application of the law in relationship to the facts in controversy [Original version read "has an undeniable right to judge both the law and the facts in controversy" -WER]. The jury system functions at its best when it is fully informed of the jury’s prerogatives. The general court wishes to perpetuate and reiterate the rights of the jury, as ordained under common law and recognized in the American jurisprudence, while preserving the rights of a criminal defendant, as enumerated in part 1, articles 15 and 20, New Hampshire Bill of Rights, and the Seventh Amendment of the Constitution for the United States of America.
HB 146 was approved, as amended, by the full House in March and is set for a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow, April 14.