House passes bill to allow electric chair in Tenn.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The House has passed a bill to allow the state to electrocute death row inmates if lethal injection drugs are unavailable.

The chamber voted 68-13 on Wednesday to approve the measure sponsored by Rep. Dennis Powers of Jacksboro.

The bill would keep lethal injection as the preferred method for executions but would allow a return to the electric chair if the state were unable to obtain the necessary drugs or if lethal injections were found unconstitutional.

Tennessee's lethal injection protocol uses a sedative commonly used to euthanize animals, but states are exhausting supplies.

The Senate, which approved its version on a 23-3 vote last week, would have to agree to House changes before sending the bill to the governor's desk.

The state's last electrocution was in 2007.


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