This is in the event courts block the lethal injection. The bill is a response to lawsuits filed by 'liberal, left-wing radicals' according to House Judiciary B Committee Chairman Andy Gipson, a Republican. On Wednesday, the bill passed through the House amid opposition and is now expected to be debated by the Senate.
In Mississippi, the lethal injection is the only legal means available to enact the death penalty, but the State faces lawsuits that claim the drugs used violate constitutional prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment.
Due to the lawsuits, Mississippi has been unable to acquire the drugs for the lethal injection death penalty, and the State's last execution was in 2012. Currently, there are 47 inmates on death row, and some have been awaiting their fate for decades.
According to the Death Penalty information Center, the 33 States that have lethal injection as the primary execution method all have the drug. The center adds only Oklahoma and Utah have firing squad as an option; eight states have electrocution as an option; five have gas chamber as an option, and three have to hang as an option.
"I have a constituent whose daughter was raped and killed by a serial killer over 25 years ago, and that person's still waiting for the death penalty. The family is still waiting for justice," said Gipson, an attorney and Baptist pastor who lives in the small town of Braxton, about 25 miles south of Jackson.
Democratic Rep. Willie Perkins of Greenwood, who is also a lawyer, opposes the death penalty with concerns about pain and the suffering one goes through before the drug kicks in.
Jim Craig, an attorney who is suing Mississippi over lethal injection drugs, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that each of the proposed new methods of executions would be challenged in court.