What do you do when you can't get your hands on the drugs in your lethal injection cocktail? As far as Tennessee's Senate is concerned, you fire up Old Sparky. The state's Senate yesterday voted 23-3 to advance a bill allowing the state to execute inmates via electric chair if lethal injection is for some reason not viable, Reuters reports. "The electric chair is fully operational," a Department of Correction spokeswoman said. It was last used in 2007.
Many states are facing shortages of execution drugs, because many European companies that make the drugs refuse to sell them for use in executions. Tennessee would be the first state to turn to the electric chair, but Missouri and Wyoming are considering reviving their firing squads. Texas has managed to get a secret supply of drugs, and a federal court ruled this week that it could remain secret. Ohio, meanwhile, is looking to cut back on executions. The Ohio Supreme Court Death Penalty Task Force will today finalize a report suggesting sweeping reforms, including banning the execution of the mentally ill and requiring DNA evidence or a videotaped confession for a death sentence, the Columbus Dispatch reports. (Read more capital punishment stories.)