- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 3, 2015

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Suppliers of Alabama’s execution drugs will be kept secret under bill that could win approval on the final day of the legislative session.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the bill Wednesday.

Alabama since 2002 has executed inmates by lethal injection unless the inmate specifically requests to be put to death with the electric chair. However, Alabama, like other death penalty states, has struggled in recent years to obtain the chemicals after manufacturers became reluctant to sell them for executions.

“Alabama has chosen lethal injection as a means of execution, but we don’t have access to the drugs,” Rep. Lynn Greer, R-Rogersville, said. Greer has said compounding pharmacies or others might provide the drugs but fear backlash from death penalty opponents.

The Senate committee had initially cancelled Wednesday’s meeting which would have killed the bill for the session. The committee changed plans and met again later in the day.

The bill has a narrow window to win approval.

It will be up for a Senate vote next week in what will be the final night of the legislative session. However, some legislators say lawmakers might adjourn Thursday.

Greer said he believes he has the votes to pass the bill if he can get to the Senate floor.

Executions in Alabama are on hold as the U.S. Supreme Court reviews the humaneness of a lethal injection drug Alabama plans to begin using.

The House-passed version of the bill would have automatically used the electric chair if the state couldn’t find lethal injection drugs. However, that provision was stripped in a new version Greer brought to the committee.

Alabama switched to lethal injection over a decade ago out of fears that the electric chair would be found unconstitutional. Existing state law allows the state to switch to any constitutional form of execution if lethal injection is ever ruled illegal.

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