So what will Texas do if it cannot obtain a new supply of pentobarbital, the drug which is used to execute condemned criminals?
The Chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee says...no problem...bring back electrocution!
"If we didn't do the more humane injections, we would go back to, in my opinion, the more brutal electrocution," John Whitmire (D-Houston) told 1200 WOAI's Michael Board during a conference on corrections in San Antonio.
Texas is known to have four doses of pentobarbital left, after an execution that was carried out Wednesday night.
But the state's supply of death drugs is getting harder and harder to replenish. Officials ran out of pentobarbital following an execution last month, but then was able to get a new supply of five doses from a compounding pharmacy in The Woodlands, north of Houston. But that pharmacist urged the state to return the doses he sold them after death penalty opponents began picketing his store.
Several other states have reported similar problems getting enough of the drugs used to execute convicts. Many of the big drug companies are multi-national concerns based in Europe, which opposes capital punishment, and drug companies generally want their product to be associated with healing people, not killing them.
There are questions about whether electrocution would be legal in the United States. All states and the federal government currently utilize lethal injection as a method of execution, which has been upheld by the courts as not violating the Constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment.
Whitmire vows that a lack of drugs to perform lethal injections will not stop Texas from carrying out executions.
'I promise you, for the foreseeable future, we will carry out the death penalty," Whitmire said.