01 February 2019 :
Senators passed bill to bring back the electric chair, add firing squad. S.C. senators revived a proposal to bring back the electric chair for the state’s death row executions, as well as add firing squads as an execution option. The bill (SB 176, filed by Sen. Hembree and Martin) passed the state Senate by a 26-13 vote, split mostly along party lines. It now heads to the S.C. House, where a similar proposal died last year. Backed by Senate Republicans, the bill is an attempt to address the S.C. Corrections Department’s inability to carry out executions because it does not have the chemicals needed for lethal injections. Currently, the state’s 35 death row inmates can insist on lethal injection, effectively blocking their executions. The bill would allow the Department of Corrections to electrocute death row inmates. But death row inmates could choose lethal injection, if available, or a firing squad, a proposal previously shot down by lawmakers. Mississippi, Oklahoma and Utah allow the use of a firing squad if lethal-injection drugs are unavailable or held to be unconstitutional. Nine states, which have lethal injection as their primary execution method, also allow for electrocution.