By Tim Ghianni
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Reuters) – Tennessee’s electric chair, last used in 2007, is now an option for executions in the state if lethal injection drugs are unavailable, following a bill that was signed by the governor on Thursday.
The law was drawn up as various states were encountering difficulty in obtaining drugs for lethal injections because many pharmaceutical firms, mainly in Europe, object to their use in executions. The bill sailed through the state’s legislature.
“It gives us another option out there. We’ve had so many problems with lethal injection,” said the bill’s House sponsor Representative Dennis Powers, who confirmed the bill was signed by Governor Bill Haslam.
Cade Cothren, spokesman for the state’s House Republican Caucus, also confirmed the bill had been signed. The governor’s office did not respond to repeated calls and emails from Reuters seeking confirmation and additional information.
Richard Dieter, executive director for the Death Penalty Information Center, which tracks executions, said that court battles would likely erupt if an inmate were sentenced to the chair.
“There certainly have been some gruesome electrocutions in the past and that would weigh on courts’ minds,” Dieter said when the bill passed the senate in April.
Lethal injection is the primary execution method in all states that have capital punishment, but some states allow inmates the option of electrocution, hanging, firing squad or the gas chamber.
Tennessee Attorney General Robert Cooper Jr. issued an advisory opinion stating that electrocution is constitutionally defensible as an execution method earlier this year.
Tennessee last executed an inmate in 2009 and the next execution is scheduled for October. The state corrections department has said it is confident of being able to secure drugs when needed. It has also said its electric chair is operational.
(Editing by Curtis Skinner and Stephen Coates)
[Image via Barlcay C. Nix, Creative Commons licensed]
Here are 7 wild, bizarre and pathetic moments from Trump’s ‘campaign launch’
On Tuesday night, President Donald Trump held a rally that was billed as the official launch his re-election campaign — though he has never really stopped holding campaign rallies.
As expected, the president ranted, lied, and engaged in the raucous attacks that are central to his connection with Republican voters. Some of it was actually just sad, such as his continued obsession with Hillary Clinton.
Here are seven of the wildest, disturbing and pathetic moments from the rally:
1. He said Democrats "want to destroy our country as we know it."
Trump casually accuses Democrats of "want[ing] to destroy you and they want to destroy our country as we know it." pic.twitter.com/4K79KlbEeR
British PM candidates clash over Brexit as Boris Johnson skips debate
Candidates to become Britain's next prime minister clashed over Brexit strategy at their first debate on Sunday but the frontrunner, Boris Johnson, dodged the confrontation.
The 90-minute debate on Channel 4 featured the five remaining candidates and an empty podium for Johnson, the gaffe-prone former foreign secretary and former mayor of London.
In sometimes ill-tempered exchanges, four of the five candidates said they would seek to renegotiate the draft Brexit divorce deal agreed with Brussels even though EU leaders have repeatedly ruled this out.
Michael Cohen ordered back to Congress on March 6
President Donald Trump's so-called "fixer" is being asked to return to Congress for more questioning on March 6.
Outside of the closed-door committee hearing Thursday, Cohen said that the House Intelligence Committee is seeking further information, according to Washington Examiner writer Byron York.
Michael Cohen finished closed-door testimony before House Intel Committee, says he's coming back for another session March 6. Again: No reason for secrecy. Transcripts should be released ASAP.
— Byron York (@ByronYork) February 28, 2019