COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) — South Carolina changed its execution laws last month. Now, some state senators say they’ll be filing a bill that would start lethal injections in the state again.
Sen. Greg Hembree (R-District 28) said he’ll be prefiling a bill that would help bring drugs used for lethal injections back to South Carolina.
Hembree said the legislation would keep the names of companies that supply the drugs private. This is also known as a shield law.
State prison officials said they have not been able to obtain these drugs for more than a decade. Hembree said in other states with shield laws, they’ve been able to purchase them with no issues.
“When you have private companies able to take justice off the tracks, that’s just an unacceptable circumstance,” he said.
The last batch of lethal injection drugs the state had expired in 2013. Hembree, who also sponsored the legislation that gave death row inmates the option of the electric chair or firing squad if lethal injection drugs were not available, said, “Bottom line, you want to use the most humane method and taking this next step would provide that opportunity.”
South Carolina Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling said he has been to the statehouse many times to testify to lawmakers about the impact a shield law could have.
“We are still trying to get the drugs, talking to places that would supply the drug,” Stirling said. “We have not been successful in doing so. We do believe if we had a shield law, the likelihood is they would supply the drugs for lethal injection.”
We reached out to anti-death penalty groups in the state for comment; we have not heard back.
Executions in the state remain on hold until prison officials have set up the firing squad. Director Stirling said he did not have a date for when the policies and procedures would be finalized.
South Carolina’s last execution was in 2011 — lethal injection was used.