Missouri Senate could debate bill to end death penalty

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A lethal injection room at an unidentified prison. (File photo)

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – The Missouri Senate could debate a bill that would repeal the state’s death penalty.

A Senate panel approved the Republican-sponsored legislation Tuesday. It would end capital punishment in a state that’s executed 18 killers in the last two years.

Sen. Paul Wieland, of Imperial, is Catholic and opposes abortion. He said that motivated him to propose repealing the death penalty.

Legislation proposed by Wieland last year didn’t receive a hearing in the Republican-controlled Senate. Wieland says it’s highly unlikely the bill will pass this year, but says it’s important to discuss.

The bill now is up for a potential debate in the full Senate.