Raleigh, N.C. — Doctors would no longer have to be in the room when an inmate is executed, under a bill the House voted to send Gov. Pat McCrory on Wednesday.
House Bill 774, which passed the Senate earlier this week and cleared the House a final time on a 74-34 vote, would also shield the makers of drugs used in executions and the specific protocols for carrying out the sentence from public view.
"Passing this bill is a step toward enforcing a law that's already on the books," Rep. Leo Daughtry, R-Johnston, told his colleagues.
Although it passed by a wide margin, opponents argued the bill would not serve its purpose.
"The majority seeks to pass this bill to restart executions. This will not do it," Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland, said, adding that the measure is "inherently flawed and ultimately doomed to failure."
Attempts to shield specifics of execution drugs and procedures from public scrutiny, Glazier said, would merely bring more lawsuits that would further delay executions.
North Carolina has not executed an inmate since 2006. Legal challenges over the death penalty have dealt with whether doctors are required to participate in executions, how the execution protocol was approved and, under the since-repealed Racial Justice Act, whether sentencing in some cases was tainted by racial bias. Across the nation, the drugs used in executions have also been the subject of litigation.
Daughtry argued that the bill was not a complete veil on the process.
"You will know what drugs are being used. You just won't know where they came from," he said. "This bill protects the company, but you will know what chemicals are in the cocktail."