(CNN)Republican South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster on Friday signed into law a bill allowing death row inmates to elect execution by electric chair or firing squad if lethal injection drugs are not available, according to the state legislature’s website.
The change in South Carolina’s law comes as states nationwide have hit barriers executing those on death row due to problems administering lethal injections, the widely preferred method in the US. Difficulties finding the required drugs have essentially paused executions in many states, including South Carolina, which has not had an execution since 2011.
While there haven’t been any federal or state executions since President Joe Biden took office, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, about 2,500 men and women sit on death row in federal and state prisons across the US. Progressive Democrats in Congress have urged the President to sign an executive order that would end the federal death penalty.
“President Biden made clear, as he did on the campaign trail, that he has grave concerns about whether capital punishment, as currently implemented, is consistent with the values that are fundamental to our sense of justice and fairness,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in March, after the Supreme Court agreed to review a death penalty case involving one of the brothers convicted in the Boston Marathon bombing.
The new South Carolina law keeps lethal injection as the primary method of execution but states that if lethal injection is unavailable “then the manner of inflicting a death sentence must be by electrocution, unless the convicted person elects death by firing squad.”
The law also states that death row inmates must make their election within 14 days of their execution date “or it is waived. “
If the prisoner does not make an election, the state’s Department of Corrections will use electrocution to carry out the execution.
In a tweet on Monday, McMaster said, “This weekend, I signed legislation into law that will allow the state to carry out a death sentence. The families and loved ones of victims are owed closure and justice by law. Now, we can provi
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