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New bill would bring back the electric chair, firing squad in South Carolina

The measure would make it easier for the Department of Corrections to execute people on death row using the electric chair.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Senate has advanced a bill that would make it easier for the state to use electrocutions and even a firing squad as a method for executing prisoners on death row.

The measure passed the Senate on 26-13 vote Wednesday. 

The measure would allow the Department of Corrections to execute people on death row using the electric chair or a firing squad.

Right now, inmates who are sentenced to die can choose lethal injection or the electric chair. But the new law would allow that if the inmate waives their right to choose, or if the date of their execution has passed and the waiver doesn't get renewed, the state could choose to execute by electric chair or by the firing squad.

South Carolina has had difficulty in recent years getting a supply of the drug used in lethal injections. Some of the manufacturers have stopped selling to states for that purpose. 

South Carolina has not executed an inmate since 2011. There are currently 35 inmates on the state's death row.

The measure moves on to the House for consideration. A similar bill did not pass in that chamber last year.