The state senate in South Carolina has agreed to require death row inmates to go to the electric chair en lieu of lethal injections, the drugs for which are now next to impossible to come by. According to the Associated Press, a bill proposal authored by Republican Sen. William Timmons was approved by a vote of 26 to 12 on Tuesday, and will endure little opposition in a procedural vote on Wednesday. After that, the South Carolina House is expected to pass the bill with flying colors.
Per the AP, the reasons for the drugs’ being unavailable vary:
The drugs South Carolina uses to perform lethal injections expired a few years ago, and pharmacies have refused to sell the state new drugs, either because they are ethically against their use in executions, or because they don’t want their names made public if they do sell them.
Another execution bill that would shield the names of drug companies from the public has been introduced in the Legislature, but isn’t as far along.
Inmates were first given the option to choose between lethal injection or the electric chair in 1995, but “the lack of drugs enabled them to stay alive by choosing injections.” As a result, “[c]apital punishment essentially ended in 2011 in South Carolina, a state that had been averaging close to two executions a year.” Timmons argues the inmate typically “picks out the option that can’t be carried out, extending his life indefinitely,” so his bill means to end the practice and force the state’s hand. “An unborn child is innocent,” he added. “A murderer who has committed heinous crimes is guilty.” 35 prisoners currently reside on death row.
(Via Associated Press)