A bill making its way through the Missouri House would ban the use of capital punishment on the mentally retarded. The measure clarifies what the term “mentally retarded” means and when it can be used in a trial. Representative Craig Hosmer of Springfield is the sponsor of the bill. He says a judge would be in a position to rule ahead of time whether the death penalty is an option in a case. He believes that could save the state time and money by leading to earlier plea bargains.