Proposed law in Montana to restart lethal injections falls short by narrow margin

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HELENA, Mont. — The Montana senate has narrowly defeated a bill that would have removed obstacles that prevent the state from resuming executions.

The decision directly affects Canadian Ronald Smith, originally from Red Deer, Alta., who has been on death row since 1983.

All executions have been stayed in Montana since 2015, because the state requires use of an ultra-fast-acting barbiturate, which is no longer available.

Montana's house of representatives passed a bill amending the protocol to allow for any substance in a lethal quantity sufficient to cause death.

But the senate voted it down 26-24, with seven Republicans joining 19 Democrats in today's vote.

The government can try and have it brought back for another vote within 24 hours, but the American Civil Liberties Union says that's unlikely to happen.

Smith and an accomplice, high on LSD and alcohol, shot and killed two young Indigenous men, near East Glacier, Mont., in 1982.

The Canadian Press