RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Senate is delaying a vote on a bill that would allow the state to mandate the use of the electric chair if lethal injection drugs aren’t available.

The Senate voted 21-19 Thursday to refer the bill to a committee, a move that could kill the bill’s chance of passage this session. The House of Delegates has already approved a similar bill.

Death row inmates can choose their method of execution. Supporters of the measure said the shortage of drugs needed for lethal injections make it necessary to give state prison officials the ability to use the electric chair when those drugs aren’t available in order to carry out death penalty sentences.

But several Democratic senators said further study was needed to verify that the bill was constitutional.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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