Senate Rejects Study of Death Penalty Costs

Missouri enacted its death penalty statute 35 years ago but has no idea what the death penalty system costs the state.

Sen. Joe Keaveny

On the last day of the session, the Senate rejected an amendment that would have required the state auditor to conduct a thorough study with prosecutors, public defenders and the courts to determine the cost of carrying out executions.

The amendment, similar to SB 786, was offered by Sen. Joe Keaveny (D-St. Louis) to a bill requiring audits of various state departments.

In a spirited debate, arguments were raised that the amendment was a backdoor approach to getting rid of the death penalty. Supporters countered that it was a matter of fiscal responsibility to know the cost of public policies. In the end, the amendment was defeated on a voice vote. Sen. Keaveny is committed to bringing the bill back next year.

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