Proposal aims to protect the mentally ill from execution in Texas

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A bill that is being filed on Tuesday aims to protect people with mental illness from the death penalty in Texas.

This proposal would prevent Texans convicted of serious crimes with severe mental illness from getting the death penalty. State Rep. Toni Rose, D-Dallas, says Texas should not execute a person that does not understand their actions.

The bill states that mental illness can impair judgement and decision making leading to difficulties with impulse control. Additionally, mental illness can make it difficult to understand the consequences of one’s actions.

Joining Rose at the State Capitol with efforts to pass the bill is the Texas Fair Defense Project, Mental Health American, Texas Impact and Grassroots Leadership.

The drug used to execute inmates is thiopental sodium, a part of the three-drug cocktail used in lethal injections. Earlier this year Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that he is suing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for delaying the state’s importation of a drug used in capital punishment.

The Council of State Governments said, while Texas has 317 inmates on death row, it only has enough of a key lethal injection drug to execute two of them, stemming from a nationwide shortage of the drug. The state of Texas has one of the highest rates of death row inmates each year.

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