Virginia executions would become shrouded in unprecedented secrecy under legislation advancing with bipartisan support, including that of Gov. Terry McAuliffe, reports the Washington Post. The measure aims to keep drugs used for lethal injections flowing into Virginia by shielding manufacturers from public scrutiny and political pressure. Foreign firms have stopped selling the drugs as a result of pressure from their governments, leaving some states unable to carry out death sentences and prompting others to experiment with chemicals that have been blamed for botched executions.
The legislation would prevent the public from scrutinizing most everything to do with the death penalty in Virginia. The bill states that “all information relating to the execution process” would be exempt from the state's open records law. Although the names and quantities of chemicals used would have to be disclosed, the names of the companies that sell them and information about buildings and equipment used in the process would be withheld. The bill's chief booster is McAuliffe, a Democrat who opposes the death penalty but whose support makes passage more likely.