Buried in a stack of bills signed into law, Governor Mary Fallin approved a law on Tuesday that would do away with one of the largest problems facing the death penalty in Oklahoma; storing the lethal drugs used in executions.
The new law, formerly SB884, allows the Department of Corrections to obtain federal and state licenses to store controlled substances, like medical narcotics but also those used in the state executions.
But the DOC director said his office pushed for law so they could keep medicine on site vital to the care of inmates.
“It's an administrative tool for us and gives us some relief. We will gain efficiencies in the system by being able to secure and stores these drugs,” Director Joe Albaugh.
But for some the coincidence of a troubled execution process and the passage of the law is more than happenstance. Being unable to store the drugs was just one issue the state had last fall during a series of stayed executions of Richard Glossip. Something the DOC Director agrees the new law would fix but wouldn't say whether his office would use the law for executions.
“Doesn't mean we're going to do it, doesn't mean we're not going to do it. My first priority right now is focusing on our medical staff doing what they need to do for our inmate population,” Albaugh said.
The process for getting those drug licenses is tedious and filled with red tape, according to Albaugh. The law does go into effect November first.
Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s office and did not get a response. The Governor's office was also asked to comment on the law, but officials there declined.