South Carolina’s state senate voted in-favor of a bill Tuesday to restart executions in the state and would add firing squad or electrocution as options, if lethal injection drugs are not available.
The bill was first written to require the electric chair as the only option, if lethal injection was unavailable, but Democrats introduced an amendment that would also allow inmates to choose death by firing squad, which some see as more humane than the electric chair.
While the death penalty is legal in South Carolina, the state has been unable to purchase drugs needed to carry out executions by lethal injection. This bill would force the 37 people who’re currently on death row to choose between either of the two options, and would end the 10-year pause in executions in the state.
The bill passed the S.C. Senate with a 32-to-11 margin on Tuesday. It will likely move on to the Republican-majority House of Representatives for consideration. In a statement to CBS News, a spokesperson for Governor Henry McMaster said he would “proudly” sign this legislation into law.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the death penalty does not violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, but the Amendment does shape certain procedural aspects regarding when a jury may use the death penalty and how it must be carried out.
The last time South Carolina executed a prisoner was in 2011, using lethal injection. The last time the state executed someone by electrocution was 2008.