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The South Carolina Senate Voted To Electrocute Death Row Inmates If Drugs Aren't Available

The state has not carried out an execution since 2011 primarily due to the lack of lethal injection drugs.

Posted on March 7, 2018, at 4:38 p.m. ET

File photo of an electric chair used by the Virginia Department of Corrections in 2006.
Anonymous / ASSOCIATED PRESS

File photo of an electric chair used by the Virginia Department of Corrections in 2006.

The South Carolina Senate on Tuesday passed a bill 26–12 that allows that state to electrocute inmates even in cases in which the inmates opt for the lethal injection but the drugs aren't available.

Since 1995, death row inmates in South Carolina have had the choice to be executed either by the electric chair or by lethal injections. Inmates opted for the lethal injection which, owing to the shortage of execution drugs, prevented them from being executed. The state has not carried out an execution since 2011 primarily due to the lack of lethal injection drugs.

The new bill proposes that if execution by lethal injection is deemed unavailable by the South Carolina Department of Corrections, "then the manner of inflicting a death sentence must be by electrocution regardless of the method elected by the person."

The bill's sponsor, Republican state Sen. William Timmons, said, "The people of South Carolina asked for justice to be served, and it's our responsibility to see that justice is carried out."

The sponsor of the bill, Senator William Timmons from the floor during today's debate: "our society is a society of laws. The people of South Carolina asked for justice to be served, and it's our responsibility to see that justice is carried out." (2/2) https://t.co/D11z6hFcM2

The bill faces one more procedural vote on Wednesday, before being sent to the House, the Associated Press reported.

Only 14 death row inmates have been electrocuted in the US since 2000, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. The most recent electrocution was Robert Gleason's in Virginia in 2013.

Democratic state Sen. Mia McLeod, who opposed the bill, asked Timmons how he reconciled his pro-life stance on abortion with his pro-death penalty position. Timmons responded: "The question is good and evil, innocence and guilt. An unborn child is innocent. A murderer that has committed heinous crimes is guilty." McLeod later took to Twitter to say, "#HeightofHypocrisy."

#HeightofHypocrisy😓 https://t.co/wyJkqI4mwu

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