The bill changes the default method of execution to electrocution if lethal injections cannot be given, and offers the inmate the alternative of dying by firing squad. Lethal injection will remain an option utilized if the drugs are available.
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said Wednesday that he intends to sign the bill into law if it passes the state legislature.
House lawmakers passed the bill by a vote of 66-43. The state Senate passed a similar version in March and must approve the House’s language before sending it to the governor.
Opponents of the measure deplored the new execution methods as well as the use of the death penalty in general. State Rep. Justin Bamberg described the visceral nature of death by electrocution on the House floor during debate, laying out the step-by-step procedures during the execution process.
“You can’t be afraid of what the reality is. You can’t vote for electrocution and death and be afraid to face it in front of your very eyes,” he said.