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Senate Judiciary Committee Approves Bill Authorizing Nitrogen Gas For Executions

The death chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.
Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Legislation that authorizes the use of nitrogen gas to execute Oklahoma death row inmates has been approved by a state Senate committee.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 8-0 Tuesday for the House-passed measure and sent it to the full Senate for a vote.

Under the bill, lethal injection would remain the primary method of execution, but nitrogen gas would be an alternative if lethal injection is declared unconstitutional or if the drugs are unavailable.

Currently, electrocution is the second option, followed by firing squad. The bill would make electrocution the third method, followed by firing squad.

Supporters began studying alternative methods after an execution went awry last year and led the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the constitutionality of Oklahoma's three-drug protocol.

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