nitrogen gas

Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Twenty-nineteen means a new governor for Oklahoma and a fresh class of state legislators — nearly 40 percent of whom have zero political experience. It’s a new year, but the state government’s slate hasn’t been wiped clean.

Here’s a roundup of some of the biggest policy issues on deck for the upcoming year and legislative session.

Energy & Environment

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma wants to go where no state has gone before: Executing death row inmates with nitrogen gas. Officials say nitrogen will bring quick, painless deaths, but the research is slim — and it has never been used in U.S. executions.

The case for nitrogen hypoxia sounds simple. Nitrogen is already in the air we breathe, but, as long as humans get the right mix, nitrogen is safe. The state wants to make death row inmates breathe pure nitrogen.

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about a two week deadline for lawmakers to come up with funding for pay raises for teachers and state workers or face a walkout by both groups and an announcement by the state Attorney General and Director of the Department of Corrections that Oklahoma will soon be using nitrogen gas to execute people on death row.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma wants to start executing prisoners again and officials want to use nitrogen gas. Oklahoma would be the first state to use nitrogen for an execution.

The state ordered a moratorium on executions in October 2015 after major problems with three lethal injections.

OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

Oklahoma, a state with one of the busiest death chambers in the country over the last three decades, will have at least a two-year delay in lethal injections after the governing board of its prison system declined to consider new execution procedures on Tuesday.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed a law today allowing nitrogen to be used in executions in the state in case lethal injection is ruled unconstitutional or the drugs are not available.

Headlines for Friday, April 10, 2015:

  • Tulsa’s new Superintendent to cost more than $1M for next three years. (Tulsa World)

  • Governor Fallin is getting a bill to allow for executions through nitrogen gas. (AP)

  • Repairs at the Capitol might take half a decade to complete. (Journal Record)

Oklahoma legislators are exploring the option of executing condemned inmates with nitrogen gas.

A formal interim study requested by Oklahoma City Republican Mike Christian was held Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee.

Christian is a staunch supporter of the death penalty who says he plans to draft a bill on the matter for next year's Legislature, which begins in February.