Louisiana House approves bill to expand death penalty methods

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The Louisiana House on Friday has approved legislation that expands the methods the state can carry out an execution. Hammond Representative Nicholas Muscarello’s measure would give the state the option to use the electric chair or nitrogen to end the life of a death row inmate.

“These have all been found legal by the Supreme Court and therefore we felt it was a viable option and we wanted to use every option available,” said Muscarello. “Ultimately the secretary for the Department of Corrections will have the ultimate decision.”

The House voted 71 to 29 in favor of the legislation and heads to the Senate for further debate.

Democrats oppose the bill. Marrero Representative Kyle Green filed a bill last year to abolish the death penalty and questions Muscarello about whether the death penalty would actually reduce homicides.

“That’s not the debate in my opinion, it’s the law of the land, we said we would condemn to death, we have to honor that commitment,.” said Muscarello.

Louisiana has not executed anyone since 2010. The state can not get the drugs to perform a lethal injection.

Muscarello’s bill also provides penalties for anyone that would publicize where the state obtained the drugs for an execution.

“Seven other states have what’s called a drug shield statue that allows them to get the drugs and not reveal the source, this is not a novel concept,” said Muscarello.

The bill heads to the Senate and will be debated by the upper chamber during the second week of the special session.

 

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