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Lawmaker Proposes Audit of Death Penalty Costs

The Kansas Legislative Division of Post Audit will not be analyzing the costs of the state death penalty, at least for now. The committee overseeing the division decided not to pursue Representative Steven Becker's request for an audit of the practice.

Becker, a Republican from Buhler and a retired district court judge, has introduced legislation to repeal the death penalty. Becker said Kansas should determine how much capital cases cost the state and local governments, and how much money could be saved by eliminating the death sentence as a punishment option.

“The cost is one of the big issues and all we’ll be able to say is ‘this is what it was 10 years ago.’ I would like to be able to say ‘this is what it is now,’” Becker said.

Kansas reinstated capital punishment around 20 years ago, although no executions have been performed.

The committee's vice chair, Senator Jeff Longbine, says there aren't enough resources to approve all the audits that are proposed. He says the audit of death penalty costs could be considered again in the future.