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Arkansas panel backs expanding execution drug secrecy law

March 7, 2019

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas Senate panel has advanced a proposal to expand the state’s secrecy surrounding its lethal injection drugs.

That approval comes despite criticism that it would give officials broad power to withhold information about executions.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday endorsed by a 5-3 vote the proposal expanding the 2015 law keeping secret the source of Arkansas’ lethal injection drugs. Arkansas has no executions scheduled and the state’s supply of execution drugs has expired.

The proposal would prohibit the state from releasing documents or information that identify or could indirectly identify the suppliers and makers of its execution drugs. The proposal would make “recklessly” disclosing the information a felony.

Press groups and death penalty opponents say the bill would shield the state’s execution process from public scrutiny.