published Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Tennessee Senate authorizes electric chair for executions

  • photo
    The execution chamber at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, shown in this file photo, has a gurney used for lethal injections and an electric chair.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE — The Senate has voted to allow the state to electrocute death row inmates if lethal injection drugs cannot be obtained.

The measure sponsored by Sen. Ken Yager passed on a 23-3 vote on Wednesday. The Harriman Republican said current law allows the state to use its alternate execution method only when lethal injection drugs are not legally available. But Yager said there was no provision for what do if there was a shortage of those drugs.

Tennessee has 10 prisoners on death row, but has not executed a prisoner since 2009.

The state's lethal injection protocol uses a sedative commonly used to euthanize animals, but states are exhausting supplies. The state's last electrocution was in 2007.

The companion bill is awaiting a House floor vote.

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