South Carolina Senate empowers state to use electric chair

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina Senate has agreed to let authorities use the electric chair to execute condemned prisoners if the state lacks the drugs needed for lethal injections.

The Senate voted 26 to 12 Tuesday for the proposal, which now goes to the House.

Since 1995, it has been up to inmates to choose lethal injection or electrocution in the state, which held its last electrocution in 2008.

South Carolina’s execution drugs expired in 2013 and the state has been unable to get more from pharmaceutical companies, which are worried about legal challenges, protests and bad publicity.

South Carolina has not carried out an execution since 2011, and some prosecutors have not sought the death penalty because the state has no drugs for lethal injection.

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