07 March 2021 :
HB244 to reinstate executions in Montana passes House vote.
Would change the lethal-injection law to allow execution by “an intravenous substance…sufficient to cause death.” Under current law, Montana may only use an ultra-fast-acting barbiturate in combination with a paralytic. Montana is on track to resume capital punishment for the 1st time since 2015 after lawmakers in the House gave preliminary approval to legislation loosening requirements for lethal injections in the state. The House passed HB244 on 2nd reading 56-44, the penultimate hurdle before the bill moves to the Senate. The proposal, carried by Rep. Dennis Lenz, R-Billings, would strike language in state law requiring that the chemical cocktail used in lethal injections contain an “ultra fast acting barbiturate,” a move opponents warn would allow unregulated substances to be used in executions by the state. The bill replaces that language with a requirement that the state use a substance “sufficient to cause death.” Executions in Montana have been on hold since 2015, when Lewis and Clark County Judge Jeffrey Sherlock ruled that the barbiturate the state had been using, pentobarbital, did not comply with statute, as it took minutes to kill — hence, not “ultra fast acting.” The state’s last execution was in 2006, the third since the practice was reinstated in 1976.