01/24/2018 Senate Proceedings

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Sen. Frank Wagner (R-Virginia Beach)—00:00
Sen. Barbara Favola (D-Arlington)—00:00
Sen. Frank Wagner (R-Virginia Beach)—00:07


Called to order at 12 m. by Lt. Governor Justin E. Fairfax

Prayer offered by The Reverend Dr. Charles J. Kellam, Sr., New
Mount Zion Baptist Church, Painter, Virginia

ROLL CALL OF MEMBERS: quorum present

Motion of Senator Mason dispensed with reading of Journal (31?Y


From Finance:

From Local Government: SB 187A, 242A, 256, 454, 594

From Privileges and Elections: SB 130, 144S, 150, 152, 153A,
264, 379S, 474, 556, 589A, 739, 834; SJ 43A, 44A, 45, 46, 71A, 77A


From Local Government: SB 200 rereferred to Finance

SB offered by Senator Stuart (unanimous consent to introduce
by voice vote)

SB offered by Senator Wagner (unanimous consent to introduce
by voice vote)

SB offered by Senator Edwards (unanimous consent to
introduce by voice vote)

SB offered by Senator Edwards (unanimous consent to
introduce by voice vote)

SB offered by Senator Lucas (unanimous consent to introduce
by voice vote)

SB offered by Senator Lucas (unanimous consent to introduce
by voice vote)

SB offered by Senator DeSteph (unanimous consent to
introduce by voice vote)

Bills presented, ordered printed and referred under Senate
Rules 11(b), (26)g and HJR 11: see January 25 Senate Calendar




SB 375 - Read third time and passed Senate block vote (40-Y 0-N)

SB 567 - Read third time and passed Senate block vote (40-Y 0-N)

SB 682 - Read third time and passed Senate block vote (40-Y 0-N)

SB 702 - Read third time and passed Senate block vote (40-Y 0-N)

SB 741 - Read third time and passed Senate block vote (40-Y 0-N)

SB 851 - Read third time and passed Senate block vote (40-Y 0-N)



SB 149 - Read third time and passed Senate (26-Y 14-N),
Reconsideration of passage agreed to by Senate (40-Y 0-N), Passed Senate (26-Y

SB 100 - Read third time and defeated by Senate (19-Y 20-N)SB 183 - Read third time and passed Senate (22-Y 18-N)SB 184 - Read third time and passed Senate (26-Y 14-N)

Legislative Information System


What follows is a transcript of this day’s session that was created as closed-captioning text, written in real time during the session. We have made an effort to automatically clean up the text, but it is far from perfect.

Those in favor, aye, opposed, no.
And continuing on Page 26 Mr. Speaker House bill 1052 to amend and reenact a section relating to method of execution.
Kirk Cox
Gentleman from manassans, Mr. Miller.
John Miller
Thank you. House bill 1052 is a process bill. Virginia department of corrections right now is having difficulties in finding drugs necessary to fulfill the task of execution by lethal injection. Manufacturers either discontinued a drug or refuse to sell the drugs to department of corrections in Virginia or any states for that matter. What this bill will do is allows Virginia department of corrections to fulfill the court orders of execution in ft drugs are not available by electrocution. Mr. Speaker I move the House be engrossed and passed on to third reading. >> Gentleman has the floor.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Ladies and gentlemen, if bill heads in the wrong direction. Instead of dieb yating ways to make it easier to use an antiquated 19th century method of executing human beings we oue talking about ways to make our system more humane. Mr. Speaker, the reason this legislation has aarised is because Virginia is isolated in the way it punishes people. Mrr manufacturers in europe refused to continue to sell us lethal injection drugs because they're not supposed to be used to kill people, but to treat people. Other states that face this problem have turned to american compounding pharmacies to deal with this shortage of the drugs. There has been two executions since then used alternate drugs made in america to do what is necessary under the current law. Virginia if it wants to continue to execute people should follow that course of action instead of continuing to enable the electric chair nicknamed old sparky. I once saw old sparky in 1993. It's a creepy device. I won't encourage anyone to look at it. It's been sitting there since 1908. We're debating whether to retire old sparky not giving her more clients. Which is what this does. Folks electrocution is antiquated. It was invented so to speak in the 1880s. In a fight between thomas edison and george westinghouse trying to figure out whose form of current was more lethal. Early death penalty education was funded by westinghouse and edison. Virginians understand when this was adopted it's this method was doing around the same time we discovered things called movies and prohibition was in vogue and they invented coca-cola. Since then our society evolved. Technology he solved. We've developed more humane ways to do this. Besides being unnecessary to do this, because drugs are available. Aside from being antiquated, this technology, electrocution, folks has hefr been tested you can't exactly take a human being saying how did it go? How did it feel? Right? And that, there is no science behind this, it's been trial by error. They watch bodies watch on fire and blood boil out of people and eye balls pop out. But nobody verified it's in fact painless and kills people without torture. Kills people without brutalizing them. But reality is that it does for years they didn't have a better way to do it n 1994 this chose to preference lethal enjeks. We ought to Head into that direction instead of turning backwards. Most states in this country goring into the other direction. 85% of the states that have electrocution as abolished it. It's us, alabama, florida, and south carolina. That is it. In fact the last three I 'll give you we need to reject this bill is that continuing to keep electrocution on the books making it forcing prisoners to be electrocuted if we can't find lethal injection jeopardizes capitol punishment in this state. Challenges to this are more and more common. It's been rejected now by two state supreme courts. They're hardly badges of liberalism n 2008 supreme court of nebraska found it was cruel and unusual. In 2001, the supreme court of georgia found electrocution was cruel and unusual punishment. And by forcing people to be executed by a means by which they didn't choose which is what this bill will do if we can't find the drugs and it doesn't way what we have to look around for drugs or what. Just said Head of prisons can just certify. By forcing people to put our system in jeopardy. Skoirt said in 2008 that u.S. Supreme court, not state one, that proper alternatives must address the risk of serious harm. It must be faesible, and significantly reduce substantial risk of severe pain. If the state refuses to adopt alternative in the face of these documents advantages for adhering to current method of execution and a state's refusal can be viewed as cruel and unusual punishment. Last week, over in the Senate and other side, the other body, the gentleman from nor folk runs a funeral home related to a body he'd seen eye balls popping out, burnt fleshed and sinked hair. He said anyone that says electrocution is not torture is dreaming. Just want to remind the body when someone is given death penalty the state is simply charged with extinguishing a life. We're not charged with brutally torturing someone until they finally die. That is where this takes us. This state was a beacon of humanity in 1996. This bill takes us in the other direction. I encourage the bod yes to vet against the bill.
John Miller
Mr. Morrissey?
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Will the gentleman yield for questions?
I yield.
Gentleman yields I would preface my question telling me I understand the lundbeck corporation has stopped sending these drugs to the united states in did he haver yens to european union. Am I not correct since 2011 the common wealth has used a three-drug protocol to administer death, including anesthetic, and paraletic agent and a third third drug that stops the hard. Is that not the current procedure?
I believe that is correct.
The gentleman yield for another yes?
I yield. >> Gentleman yields.
Given that other states like georgia, texas and ohio who don't have, or not receiving, the drugs from europe and have gone to a different protocol, where they switched to a one-drug regiment, which administered extinguishes life why couldn't we do that in a more humane fashion instead of defaulting to electrocution?
Mr. Speaker, I 'm not sure the basis of the question is accurate. I don't know states using a one-drug formula. What I do know is that now, petobarbitol is no longer being sold to departments of corrections around the state. I know the state of ohio attempted to use some of their compounding drugs from american compounding pharmacies to execute one dennis mcgwire which also did no knot go as well as planned the convict laid on the table gasped and senatored 15 minutes before he passed away. So what what I would say this Delegate presenting this bill and a majority of delegates I know would prefer to keep the option of lethal injection as an option for the common wealth of Virginia. Problem is that drugs are becoming less and less available. If not available, this would allow the department of corrections to fulfill court orders.
Gentleman yield for another r another yes?
Will the gentleman yield?
I yield oochl I would ask the gentleman if House bill 1052 is passed would it not be true Virginia would be the only state in the union with forced electrocution? For death row inmates?
I would not know that. I have no idea what other 49 state laws are.
Gentleman yield for another question? >> I yield.
Gentleman yields.
I'm looking and it says, I 'm quoting if the director certifies method of excuse chosen by the prisoner were set forth is not available, and words are for any reason, the remaining method of execution, ie, electrocution shall be employed. Would any reason include the drugs are expired? In other words drugs on the shelf in the department of kreks carrying out execution in the death chamber are expired would that be for any reason?
Mr. Speaker if the drugs are expired the department of corrections will not use them for execution. >> Would the gentleman yield for another question? >> Will the gentleman yield? >> I yield.
Gentleman yields. >> Is the gentleman aware as we stand here today debating this issue, that those drugs that the department of corrections has to utilize have expired if there were to be a execution today they could not use a drug because it's expired. Is the gentleman aware that have?
It is my understanding that any reserve that the department of corrections had expired on November 30, 2013. And they do not have access to those drugs, currently. >> Thank you.
Would the gentleman yield for another question?
I yield. >> Gentleman yields
I ask the gentleman respectfully was the logic to default to execution by electrocution as opposed to firing squad? Hang something gillotine? What was the logic to default to electrocution?
The reason we would not use firing squad, hanging, electrocution or grenades because it is not on the state code. Electric chair is, used laughter to execute an inmate on death row.
Will the gentleman yield for a final question?
I will yield for a final question. >> He yields.
Could the gentleman answer me this question. What should earl Washington junior or state have done given the following. Within nine days of earl Washington junior's scheduled execution, he was exonerated. Not because there was a fourth amendment challenge but because state said we got it wrong earl is innocent. What should earl Washington have done to choose his poerm of execution lethal injection, or electrocution given that he didn't commit the crime and if he didn't choose, what should the common wealth of Virginia have done to carry out that death sentence had he not chosen.
Mr. Speaker the question does not pertain to this bill. This bill only pertains to executions fully vet asked have gone through appeals process. Therefore, gentleman Mr. Morrissey is talking about would not have faced this question. I cannot reach into that gentleman's mind anyway if he were to face that question.
Kirk Cox
Mr. Speaker, thank you. Speaking to the bill, when it's appropriate. >> Gentleman has the floor.
Thank you. Mr. Speaker. My colleagues gave reasons why we should not default because of the horrific nature of electrocuting someone. Let me tell you let's be scleer what this bill does it's saying that for whatever reason, if the drugs not available for whatever reason, we default to electrocution. I appreciate the candor and patron from Manassas, as I speak now, for any reason exists. We cannot put to someone to death right now with a cocktail because the drugs are expired. If this law was in existence right now and if we're to execute someone today, we would have to electrocute the person. Is that that doesn't make sense to me. With respect to this danish pharmaceutical company not providing the drugs they have their reasons but my colleague is saying default to electrocution. We put our dogs to death better than what we're going do to another human being. We can put people to death with a anesthetic, and paraletic drug, stopping heart like we do for dogs and cats that, is painless many but this law says knox we're not going to choose that option. We're going to default to electrocution where someone fries my colleague talks about a man who took many minutes to expire. Imagine the horrors people deal who are electrocuted. It is wrong and ought not to be a party of that. I ask you reject this bill and not enroll it for a third reading. Thank you.
Kirk Cox
Gentleman from manassass, Mr. Miller.
John Miller
Mr. Speaker speak together bill.
Mr. Speaker I appreciate the comments >> Death penalty is never easy. I think debates from other side were about the death penalty what. This is about is about process. Reserved for worst of the worst of our society. I just ask my colleagues to not listen to hype such as antiquated 19th century way of execution. I would say poisoning outdates electrocuting someone. I fell department of corrections to get products from american compounding pharmacies. What is untrue as well. They're now rarely with selling drugs to department of corrections around the nation. Using emotional terms like old sparky is creepy. Mr. Speaker again it's not an easy issue for anyone. But a bed with medical supplies to put someone to death is creepy, also. And Mr. Speaker, I say one last thing from gentleman of Fairfax opposed to the death penalty in any circumstances that I would say that this jeopardized capitol punishment, they say it jeopardizes capitol punishment in the court system. Mr. Speaker it May well. Jeopardize capitol punishment. I'm in the an attorney. I don't make appeals before the state supreme court or u.S. Supreme court. And the gentleman from Fairfax and Richmond May make what argument one day in front of the Virginia supreme court and May win. It might be this piece of legislation that allows them to take that argument to the supreme court and win. When I would say, Mr. Speaker is again this is about the process. And allowing to be fulfilled. It's not about the merits of whether death penalty is wrong or write. I move the bill, the bod yes engross the bill and passed to third reading.
Many in favor say aye?