GOP-led South Carolina Senate introduces disturbing bill for death row

GOP-led South Carolina Senate introduces disturbing bill for death row
Royalty-free stock photo ID: 795931975 Hands of the girl in handcuffs. arrest. a crime. law. execution of sentences.
US Department of Justice says FDA can't regulate execution drugs

The Republican-led Senate in South Carolina has introduced a new bill that would require death row inmates to choose the style of their execution. According to The State, a bipartisan group of lawmakers within the state's Senate voted in favor of reintroducing the firing squad for executions.

The newly proposed law comes as the state of South Carolina faces a years-long delay to receive legal injection drugs to carry out executions. Two of the state's executions have been on hold since 2016 due to a shortage in drug availability. Now, there is the possibility of a third execution being delayed.

The publication reports that under the state's current law, death row inmates have the option to choose between death by lethal injection or electrocution. If an inmate chooses legal injection and drugs are not available to carry out the execution, by law, the state cannot force the inmate to die by electrocution.

Instead, the inmate's execution would be delayed until the proper drugs are made available. "For several years, as most of you know, South Carolina has not been able to carry out executions," state Sen. Greg Hembree (R) said.

Under the newly proposed law, the state would give death row inmates three options: lethal injection, firing squad, or electrocution. However, if lethal injection drugs are not available, the publication reports that the new bill would give state officials the ability to still move forward with the death penalty by way of electrocution or firing squad.

Hembree also argued that death by firing squad would be a more humane approach than electrocution. According to the Republican state senator, electrocution is one of the most torturous forms of death. "Carrying out justice is important," Hembree, R-Horry, said. "But you don't want to torture anybody needlessly. That's not the government's place."

Sen. Dick Harpootlian (D-Columbia, S.C.), who also voted in favor of advancing the bill, also agreed with Hembree's stance on electrocution. "They're dead instantly," Harpootlian said. "The actual pain and suffering of death, it's actually the least painful and the least suffering of any manner of death."

However, he also admitted that the bill is still not something to be proud of. "This is not something we should be proud of," Harpootlian said of the bill. "Anyone here who is proud of this needs to go to church on Sunday."

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card

Close

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.