SC lawmaker wants to ensure availability of execution drugs in the state

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA)–An upstate lawmaker is taking steps to try and ensure that the state has the drugs needed to execute death row inmates. The state is one of many that faces a critical shortage of the drug. The shield law would create a legal exemption for the companies that make drugs used in executions keeping the company’s name secret.

Spartanburg Representative Eddie Tallon says he’s hoping the measure makes those companies less reluctant to provide the drugs used for lethal injection. “The way the law stands right now if you chose lethal injection and we had no drugs to do the lethal injection you would sit there,” said Representative Tallon.

Inmates on death row have the right to choose whether they die by injection or electrocution. But drug companies have been hesitant to provide the compounds used for an execution.

Representative Smith explained, “The companies and drug companies don’t want to be known as furnishing drugs that take lives. they won’t sell drugs to us now to carry out the execution without confidentiality without being shielded.”

Some opponents say the public has the right to know the details of a government execution, including the source of the lethal drug.

“If you are carrying out a punishment on behalf of the state of South Carolina it is in theory on behalf of the citizens of the state, and we believe there should be accountability and transparency when carrying out an execution and this bill would totally shut that down,” said Lindsey Vann, the director of Justice360.

Tallon’s bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee. At least a dozen other lawmakers have already signed on as co-sponsors.

Right now an inmate can only be electrocuted if they request that method.Rep. Tallon has filed another bill that would allow the state to carry out an electrocution if lethal injection drugs are not available.