A bill aims to keep the severely mentally ill off Death Row.
Under the bill, a hearing would be held on the defendant's mental health before the trial, rather than after. Insko said that would cut down on post-sentencing litigation.
Although some other states list the specific illnesses, Insko said her proposal was actually narrower because it only says that the defendant had to be incapable of understanding what they were doing at the time of the crime.
She pointed out that some people with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, for example, could understand the consequences of a crime if they were properly medicated.
The Chapel Hill Democrat said that she believes the bill would only affect one or two capital punishment cases a year.
A 2001 bill prohibited the death penalty for the mentally retarded.