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In wake of execution, House hears bill adding oversight to DOC


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Barely 12 hours after Missouri executed yet another death-row convict while under national scrutiny over its execution methods, the Missouri House of Representatives heard a bill in the Judiciary Committee that would add legislative oversight to the Department of Corrections.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield, would require any changes to the execution methods of the department subject to the JCAR rules process, effectively giving legislative oversight to any changes in the method with which Missouri executes criminals.

Rep. Eric Burlison
Rep. Eric Burlison

Burlison, who personally supports the death penalty, says the issue is one of transparency, and that he simply believes the DOC shouldn’t be allowed to end a Missourian’s life under the shroud of secrecy.

“We owe it to the victims and to the public to make sure that our state is transparent in the process we use to execute our most violent criminals,” Burlison told The Missouri Times.

The bill comes as a response to departmental changes made since last spring when DOC officials expanded their anonymity definitions and refused to disclose the source of their new execution drugs or the medical professionals approving the new drug. Lawmakers on both sides of the capitol building have expressed concern over the DOC’s troubling new procedures.

Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, has filed legislation in the senate to halt the DOC’s practice of purchasing execution drugs with cash to protect pharmacy anonymity. Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, held hearings with the DOC on execution procedures which lambasted the Department’s privacy.

Burlison’s bill had no opposition in committee.