Nicole Boliaux, Deseret News
FILE - Rep. Steve Handy, R-Layton, speaks at the state Capitol in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017.

SALT LAKE CITY — How much do death penalty cases cost Utah taxpayers compared with cases where the death penalty isn't used? A House committee approved a bill Tuesday that will create an audit that will find out just that.

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Rep. Steve Handy, R-Layton, presented HB70 to the House Law enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee.

Handy said there was a study conducted in summer 2012 that found that it costs $1.6 million more to pursue the death penalty than to pursue life without parole.

But there were limitations to the study that did not count legal expenses at the county level, he said.

Handy said his bill is just a request for a study. There is no compulsory requirement in the bill. He said the legislative management committee gets to decide whether to have to auditor conduct the study.