Nebraska senators debate lethal injection secrecy bill

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Nebraska lawmakers have kicked off a debate on a bill that would let state officials hide the identities of lethal injection suppliers in an effort to resume executions.

Sen. John Kuehn of Heartwell argued Wednesday that his bill would protect drug makers who would otherwise face public harassment from death penalty opponents. Commonly used lethal injection drugs have become scarce because many pharmaceutical companies refuse to sell drugs for use in executions.

Opponents said the state should keep its current transparent process that requires the Department of Correctional Services to disclose its suppliers. Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha, a staunch death penalty foe, said the drugs were designed for legitimate medical reasons and shouldn't be used for executions.

Lawmakers adjourned for the day without voting on the measure.

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