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Senate approves changes in death-penalty law

By The Associated Press

This article was published February 7, 2013 at 11:36 a.m.

— The state Senate has approved a bill that its sponsors claim will overcome the state Supreme Court's concerns about how Arkansas executes prisoners.

On a 33-0 vote, senators approved revisions to the state's injection procedures, including naming a chemical to be used. A 2009 law let the Correction Department director pick the drug.

Justices threw out the law last year, saying the state constitution required the Legislature to make the decision.

Arkansas has not put anyone to death since 2005.

Of the 37 inmates on currently death row in Arkansas, eight men have exhausted their appeals and are awaiting execution, according to the attorney general — though more challenges are expected.

Gov. Mike Beebe has said he would sign a bill outlawing executions, but no such bill is expected.

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