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House Approves Death Penalty for Child Rapists; Lawmakers Work on Village Law Repeal Compromise

With just slightly more than 24 hours left in the legislative session, Missouri lawmakers are embracing a handful of issues, including a proposal to apply the death penalty to child rapists. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

With lawmakers counting down the hours remaining in the session, only a handful of bills and issues are still viable. The Missouri House added an amendment to a bill that would allow the death penalty for anyone who rapes a child under the age of 12. Republican Representative Bryan Pratt offered the amendment.

Some lawmakers raised concerns about the unintended consequences of the measure. Democratic Representative Jeff Roorda spent 17 years working in law enforcement. He says allowing the death penalty for child rapists could lead rapists to murder their victims so they can't testify against them.

In response to those concerns, Pratt says he doesn't think the possibility of the death penalty will make difference in how child rapists treat their victims.

The House approved the amendment by a voice vote. Other issues lawmakers addressed on their second to last day of session include a repeal of the so-called village law. The measure seeks to undo a law that lets landowners skirt local zoning ordinances. Complicating passage of the village law repeal is the fact that the House on Wednesday attached to it a measure that clamps down on strip clubs. Now, lawmakers from both chambers are headed into a conference committee where they'll attempt to hammer out a compromise.