Arkansas Business posts an expanded update of the AP report, "House Judiciary Committee Approves Lethal Injection Bill." It's by Jeannie Nuss.
Arkansas is one step closer to resuming executions after a legislative panel on Thursday approved a proposal to rewrite a lethal injection law that the state's top court struck down last year.
The new measure sailed through the House Judiciary Committee, despite fears that it fails to address issues that led the Arkansas Supreme Court to side with a group of death row inmates and overturn the state's 2009 execution law. In June, the court deemed it unconstitutional, saying the Legislature had given the Department of Correction "unfettered discretion" to figure out the protocol and procedures for executions, including the chemicals to be used.
The new proposal says correction officials are to carry out death sentences using a class of drug known as a barbiturate, but it doesn't specify which one. The Department of Correction would still have the discretion to choose.
"Don't you think that brings about the possibility of other constitutional challenges as well?" Rep. John Walker, D-Little Rock, asked during Thursday's committee meeting.
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel acknowledged the likelihood of continuing legal challenges, but he said the measure addresses the Supreme Court's concerns.
Arkansas, which has 37 men on death row and no pending executions, is not alone in dealing with lethal injection issues. Other death penalty states have changed the chemicals they use, in part because of a shortage of such drugs.
Earlier coverage of the Arkansas legislation begins at the link.