Va. Gov. McAuliffe reviewing bill to force electric-chair executions

WASHINGTON — Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is still deciding whether he will approve a bill passed by the General Assembly to make death row inmates die by electric chair if lethal injection drugs cannot be obtained.

“We have not announced my position yet on this particular piece of legislation,” Gov. McAuliffe told WTOP’s Ask the Governor on Wednesday.  “We’re thoroughly going through it.”

Virginia death row inmates can choose whether they will be executed by the electric chair or by lethal injection. However, when materials used for a lethal objection cannot be obtained, the execution cannot happen.

The proposal that passed the General Assembly would force those who wished to die by lethal injection to instead die by electric chair if drugs could not be found.

While it would allow the commonwealth to continue with executions, McAuliffe had a different plan in mind.

“Last year, I submitted a bill that would have solved this bill. And unfortunately, the General Assembly did not support it.”

His plan would have let the state obtain the drugs through specialty pharmacies, ensuring that the state had a supply of drugs to carry out executions.

However, that bill failed.

“And now, we are in this very difficult position today where we cannot get the drugs involved in this and the default is the electric chair,” McAuliffe said.

The governor said he and his staff are going over the bill and will make a decision on whether to sign or veto it shortly.

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