Bill to conceal names of companies providing death penalty drugs struck down

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A Senate Judiciary Committee struck down a bill that would have concealed the names of companies that manufacture and provide drugs used in carrying out the death penalty. (Photo credit: Elisabeth Fondren/LSU Manship School News Service)

Published: May 29, 2019

By: Tryfon Boukouvidis and Lauren Heffker, LSU Manship School News Service

BATON ROUGE — A Senate Committee struck down a bill on a 3-2 vote along partisan lines that would have concealed the names of companies that manufacture and provide drugs used in carrying out the death penalty.

The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Nicholas Muscarello, R-Hammond, said this proposed law would have ensured that the identity of the drug manufacturer remained secret.

The bill would have guaranteed absolute confidentiality to lethal drug providers in Louisiana executions. The Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola is the only facility in the state where the death sentence can be carried out.

Since 2000, seven people on death row in Louisiana have been exonerated, and two people have been executed. There have been no executions in the state since 2010.

In the committee, at the heart of the one-hour long debate were questions about government transparency versus information discretion.

The bill previously passed the House floor in a 68-31 vote earlier this month.

Michelle Ghetti, deputy solicitor general with the Louisiana Attorney General’s office, spoke in favor of the proposal. Ghetti said that by masking the provider’s identity, the bill could help prevent safety threats against execution drug providers and pharmacies, referring to cases in Oklahoma and Texas.

Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, who spoke in opposition of the bill, contended that Ghetti was using isolated cases to make a broader argument. “I do appreciate when you come to the committee and drop some of the most inflammatory language possible for maximum effect,” Morrell remarked.

Read more in The Shreveport Times.

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