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Legislation was filed Wednesday to limit the last meals of prisoners on the night of their execution to food that is already available within the prison.

The sponsor of the bill, state Rep. Rebecca Petty, R-Rogers, is a familiar name on death-penalty legislation. Her daughter, Andi, was killed in 1999 by a man who is now imprisoned on death row at the Varner Unit.

During a series of four executions in 2017 — the last time the state put anyone to death — three inmates received last meals of fried chicken and other sides. A fourth prisoner declined a meal in favor of communion.

[RELATED: Complete Democrat-Gazette coverage of the Arkansas Legislature]

Prison spokesman Solomon Graves said the state Department of Correction is reviewing Petty's bill to determine how it would impact existing protocol. Graves could not say what existing protocol is.

There are currently 30 men on Arkansas' death row.

However, the state lacks the drugs needed under to law to carry out executions by lethal injection.


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  • Foghorn
    February 20, 2019 at 1:45 p.m.

    I realize Petty lost a daughter to murder 20yrs ago - at the hands of a relative no less - which I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I can only imagine her anger that her daughter’s killer is still on death row with no execution date. This is not how to respond, however. She is squandering her platform on petty retribution. What difference does it really make to ensure a prisoner has powdered mashed potatoes vs. real mashed potatoes if he’s about to die? Is there a hole in the DoC budget from dead men walking demanding lobster thermidor and Veuve Cliquot as a last meal? She needs to take time away to figure out how to use her platform to prevent the sort of crime that happened to her daughter. Not this.

  • mrcharles
    February 20, 2019 at 4:35 p.m.

    Cannot the state force communion on the inmate, I mean real communion like in a papist building. You have your fruit of the vine and the magic cracker that is flesh, therefor fruit and protein.

    This is not to make light of the murder or the grief of the mother , but even short time taken up on this is a waste of time. ... but on second thought the looney tunes at the leg might be better off getting off their right wing theocratic brainless agenda to something not making us a further embarrassment to thoughtful thinking people.

  • RBear
    February 20, 2019 at 4:35 p.m.

    More from the “Look Busy” legislature. Petty is being petty with this legislation.

  • Government4thePeople
    February 20, 2019 at 4:38 p.m.

    Or, maybe, as we look at ways to trim the fat from all wasteful government spending, this is easy, low-hanging fruit. The real issue is that, once a crime is committed, the criminals seem to have all the rights, while the victims and their families are treated like absolute crap. It's been going on for far too long. Give criminals the criminal-like treatment they deserve and give victims the dignity they deserve. Do that, and we wouldn't be having this discussion.

  • Skeptic1
    February 20, 2019 at 4:40 p.m.

    I agree with Foghorn, you don't get to use your position as a legislature to further your own personal agenda. I am opposed to the death penalty but not for moral reasons. I am opposed because since we have been able to use DNA to include or exclude offenders there have been dozens of people exonerated that were on death row. Putting someone to death is the ultimate punishment, God's grace says we do not get be cruel or vengeful, so what if someone wants a special meal as his last? This bill should be shelved.

  • tweedyboy57
    February 20, 2019 at 4:47 p.m.

    I cant believe the crap thats rolling around in Our GOP CONTROLLED Governments collective heads. Its lets see who we can kick to the curb or the down-and-out as long as theyre not high earning "job creators" or gun totin' Dont Tread On Me "Patriots" I'm sick of this warped State. If my grandkids werent here I'd be long gone

  • crasher1
    February 20, 2019 at 4:48 p.m.

    Why even advertise what they get as a last meal? Just report that justice was carried out at ???? O:Clock.

  • Government4thePeople
    February 20, 2019 at 4:52 p.m.

    Do any of the murder victims get to choose their last meal? No! Did Petty's murdered daughter get any choices before she was murdered? No! Special treatment for murderers on the tax payer dime is wrong. Getting to live on death row for 20 years after the crime going through appeal after appeal after appeal is reward enough.

  • Justanotherone
    February 20, 2019 at 5:16 p.m.

    31 executions since 1976 an average of less than one a year. I imagine for how much it costs to pass a bill, we can recover the savings this bill might provide in less than 100 years. Arkansas Legislature using our time and resources, wisely as usual.

  • susan918crosbygmailcom
    February 20, 2019 at 5:32 p.m.

    So let me see here...
    Prisoner who is going to die, gets a meal that most people might not be able to afford that is not going to be put to good use in a body that in 20 minutes is going to be worm food. Condemned Prisoners should not have any more special rights or requests than what is available to the rank and file prisoners. Victims and their families are demonized because the seem heartless, but I ask everyone who commented...If you were the victims family, what would you want? What should your "murder" get? What is justice for your child, parent, relative? Who should pay for the criminals stupidity?? I have said it before in a comment about the death penalty last week. I have absolutely no problem with pulling the switch, throwing the trap, dropping the capsule or pushing the plunger if my loved one was murdered, raped, beat into a vegetable...whatever. Until I get that opportunity, the sorry SOB better not be treated any better than or any worse than any other prisoner in the general population. No special food, no special cell, no tv, nothing...just time to contemplate their impending demise.