"Bill would cloak lethal injection information in secrecy," is by Bill Rankin for today's Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The names of those who carry out Georgia’s executions and the identities of those that supply the lethal drugs would be classified as “state secrets” under legislation moving through the General Assembly.
Rep. Kevin Tanner, R-Dawsonville, who sponsored the privacy exception, said it is needed to protect individuals involved in the execution process. But opponents said it shields from view how Georgia acquires its lethal-injection drugs and could, if there is a botched execution, prevent the public from finding out why it happened.
Tanner successfully attached the “state secrets” amendment to House Bill 122, which was approved by the Senate Judiciary Non-Civil Committee on Wednesday.
It would keep private the names of the guards on duty during executions, the pharmacist who fills out the prescription and the person who administers the lethal drug, he said. The amendment also requires the identifying information of any entity that “manufactures, supplies, compounds or prescribes” the lethal injection drugs to be classified.
Tanner, a former Department of Corrections board member, said he has been working with the agency on the amendment. Nearly half of the states with the death penalty have enacted similar legislation.
William Montross, a lawyer for the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, said no one wants the names of the actual executioners.
“That is not what this bill is about,” he said. “It is about giving the Georgia Department of Corrections cover so that no one can see how they obtain the drugs they use to kill people. Transparency is being thrown out the window.”