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Ohio lawmakers introduce bill to add nitrogen gas as death penalty option | Reporters Roundtable

Attorney General Dave Yost at a news conference discussing alternative methods for carrying out executions on Jan. 30, 2024.
Sarah Donaldson
Statehouse News Bureau
Attorney General Dave Yost at a news conference discussing alternative methods for carrying out executions on Jan. 30, 2024.

At least two state lawmakers, and Attorney General Dave Yost, want Ohio to become the second state in the country to use nitrogen gas for executions after Alabama successfully executed an inmate using that method.

Lethal injection, Ohio's current protocol, has had many problems, including a lack of availability of the needed drugs.

The Alabama execution by nitrogen hypoxia, basically suffocation, took about 22 minutes. The state ruled it humane. Critics have called it cruel and experimental.

Yost and two Republican lawmakers who introduced a new bill this week, said in a press conference Monday that they want to see death penalty enforcement kickstarted. The last time someone was executed in Ohio was 2018, before Governor Mike DeWine took office.

Also this hour, Cleveland City Council will not accommodate protesters who have, for three months, called on the body to pass a resolution urging a ceasefire in the Israel Hamas war and condemning what the protesters call Israel's genocide in Gaza. The issue has never been presented for discussion.

Instead, council passed enhanced rules for its public meetings that could result in council recessing a raucous meeting, clearing the chambers, and returning with just media in attendance.

At the end of that meeting, Councilmember Rebecca Maurer stood and broke her silence, apologizing for taking so long to call for a ceasefire. Maurer, the only Jewish member of council, called Israel's actions under President Benjamin Netanyahu "horrific."

We'll discuss these stories and more from the week's news on Friday's "Reporters Roundtable."

- Abbey Marshall, Reporter, Ideastream Public Media
- Zaria Johnson, Reporter, Ideastream Public Media
- Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau Chief, Ohio Public Radio/TV

Mike McIntyre is the executive editor of Ideastream Public Media.
Rachel is the supervising producer for Ideastream Public Media’s morning public affairs show, the “Sound of Ideas.”