by Max Brantley
The ACLU is calling on early morning calls to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to encourage votes against the bill to allow the Correction Department total control over release of information about the execution process. This means secrecy about the state's gravest responsibility.
Gov. Mike Beebe, inexplicably, has rolled over to the Correction Department and is working for the bill, the ACLU says. Sens. Ed Wilkinson, Ruth Whitaker, David Johnson, Jim Luker, Sue Madison, Robert Thompson are on the committee to hear the bill this morning. Also Jerry Taylor, but don't waste your breath.
NOTED: Sen. Thompson messages that he'd amended the bill Monday to say that the quantity, method and order of administration of chemicals in the execution process are subject to the FOIA. He said this should address concerns of criminal defense attorneys. That's a significant improvement. But it does not go as far as I'd like on execution openness, a matter left to almost the sole discretion of the Correction director.
UPDATE: The Senate committee decided the state killing process should remain shrouded in secrecy.