- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A bill that would force condemned inmates to die by the electric chair if the state can’t find lethal injection drugs is one step closer to final approval in Virginia.

The Senate Courts of Justice Committee voted 9-5 to endorse the bill Wednesday, sending it to the full Republican-controlled Senate.

The bill sailed through the GOP-dominated House last month. A spokesman for Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, has declined to say whether he would support the bill.

Supporters say unless the state approves the electric chair as a backup, it may be forced to halt executions. Drug companies’ resistance to their products being used in executions has created a nationwide shortage.

Opponents say the electric chair amounts to cruel and unusual punishment and would inevitably face legal challenges.

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