Alabama approves new method of execution
Alabama lawmakers voted to allow the use of nitrogen gas to execute death row inmates, a method that has so far not been used to carry out a death sentence.
A spokesman for Gov. Kay Ivey said the governor will review the bill before making a decision whether to sign it into law.
The bill would allow executions by asphyxiating inmates with nitrogen gas if lethal injection drugs are unavailable or lethal injection is ruled unconstitutional. Supporters argued the state needs another method of carrying out death sentences as drug companies become hesitant to supply chemicals for executions and lethal injection faces continued court challenges.
Opponents of the bill questioned how lawmakers could assert it would be painless since the method hasn't been tried, CBS News reported.
The Death Penalty Information Center said that no state has carried out an execution by nitrogen gas. According to center, two states - Oklahoma and Mississippi - have voted to authorize execution by nitrogen gas as a backup method of execution.
Oklahoma announced last week that it will begin using nitrogen for executions, when the state resumes death sentences, because of difficulty obtaining lethal injection drugs.