Virginia would not run afoul of federal law or violate death row inmates’ constitutional rights by passing a law allowing the state to obtain lethal injection drugs from secret sources, according to an opinion released late Tuesday by Attorney General Mark R. Herring.
In a 13-page document, Herring responded to a series of Republican and Democratic lawmakers’ questions about a pending death penalty bill that will be a major focus when the General Assembly reconvenes today to take up Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s vetoes and amendments.
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Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Monday that he has proposed keeping secret the identities of pharmacies that supply lethal-injection drugs for executions, instead of changing the law to force inmates to die in the electric chair if there are no available drugs.
McAuliffe stripped the contentious electric-chair provision from a bill and vowed to veto the measure if lawmakers reintroduce it. He warned that unless Virginia shields lethal-injection-drug manufacturers from public scrutiny, capital punishment in the state will come to a halt.
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