OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma has become the first state in the U.S. to allow the use of nitrogen gas in carrying out executions.
Gov. Mary Fallin on Friday signed into law a bill that allows nitrogen to be used if lethal injection is ruled unconstitutional or if the deadly drugs used in executions become unavailable.
Executions are on hold in Oklahoma while the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether the state's current three-drug method of lethal injection is constitutional. Supporters of the new law maintain nitrogen-induced hypoxia is a humane and painless method of execution that requires no medical expertise to perform.
The bill authored by Republican Rep. Mike Christian and Republican Sen. Anthony Sykes passed the House on an 85-10 vote and cleared the Senate on a 41-0 vote.