Executions

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.

Oklahoma will become the first state in the nation to allow the use of nitrogen gas to execute inmates under a bill heading to the governor's desk.

Without a single dissenting vote, the Oklahoma Senate gave final approval Thursday to the bill allowing the new method to be used if lethal injection is ruled unconstitutional or if the deadly drugs become unavailable.

Headlines for Monday, April 6, 2015:

  • Bills barring local control of oil and gas drilling might have an unforeseen consequence: ending the Federal Flood Insurance program in Oklahoma. (Tulsa World)

  • The President of Oklahoma City University is joining in a critique of Oklahoma’s execution methods. (NewsOK)

  • More trouble is coming for Sampson Resources. (Journal Record)

Last month, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed a bill bringing back the firing squad as a method of execution. The state abandoned firing squads in 2004 but now, it has returned as the backup option — partly because of a shortage of lethal injection drugs, the state's default execution method.

Utah is now the only state in the U.S. that authorizes execution by firing squad.

Utah's GOP-controlled House of Representatives narrowly approved a proposal to bring back the state's use of firing squads for executions, but the measure faces an uncertain reception in the Senate.

The 39-34 vote Friday came as missing lawmakers were rounded up to break a deadlock. The firing squad was discontinued in 2004.

The Associated Press says leaders in the Republican-controlled Senate won't say whether they will support the measure and Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, also a Republican, has not said if he will sign it.

On This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Morning Edition Host Michael Cross talks with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill about the decision by Attorney General Scott Pruitt to ask for a stay of execution in the case of Richard Glossip and the plan by new Superintendent Joy Hofmeister to give pay raises and add classes to the school year over the next five years.

Ryan, Neva and Michael also talk about bills expected in the upcoming legislature and the arrest of Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger.

The execution of three inmates has been put on hold, as the Supreme Court intervenes in a case that involves the controversy over the drugs states use to put people to death. The justices cited the sedative midazolam, which has been used in three executions that did not go smoothly.

The Supreme Court's stay is likely to hold until April, when it will hear arguments from three inmates who say that Oklahoma's execution protocol violates the U.S. Constitution.

The court's order did not elaborate on the reasons or debate behind the move:

Executions are again on hold in Oklahoma after the U.S. Supreme Court granted the state's request to postpone lethal injections while justices review a challenge over the use of a particular sedative.

The court on Wednesday ordered Oklahoma to halt lethal injections after both the state and the lawyers for three inmates who faced execution between now and March requested the temporary stay.

The justices agreed Friday to consider the challenge to the use of the sedative midazolam, which has been used in problematic executions in Arizona, Ohio and Oklahoma.

Attorney General Scott Pruitt filed an application for stays of execution before the United States Supreme Court Monday morning.

The Attorney General has asked for the stays of execution of three death row inmates until a resolution in the State’s favor of the U.S. Supreme Court action in Glossip v. Gross, the petition for review the Supreme Court accepted last week, or until the Oklahoma Department of Corrections has obtained a viable alternative of drugs for use ­in the executions.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed today to review Oklahoma's method of execution by lethal injection. The justices agreed to hear the Oklahoma case a week after refusing to halt another execution that used the same drug formula.

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