Across Georgia

Georgia moves to swap drugs for executions


ATLANTA --- Georgia prison officials are laying the groundwork to swap out a key sedative used for lethal injections after federal regulators took the state's stockpile of sodium thiopental, which is in short supply nationwide, according to more than 1,000 pages of documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

State Department of Corrections officials met with counterparts in Ohio and Oklahoma, two states that have already used another drug, pentobarbital, to execute inmates. They have also collected hundreds of pages of legal filings and other documents about the use of pentobarbital in those states, according to files obtained through an open records request.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration took Georgia's supply of sodium thiopental last week over questions whether the state circumvented law to get it.

The move effectively blocked Georgia from scheduling and carrying out any executions.

House speaker joins SRS H Canyon efforts

COLUMBIA --- South Carolina House Speaker Bobby Harrell met with Savannah River Site managers and officials and members of the Aiken County legislative delegation Monday for a briefing on the Savannah River National Laboratory and the uncertain future of the site's plutonium-processing H Canyon.

"The purpose of the meeting wasn't to create or ask for next steps but to inform," said Clif Webb, the vice president of public affairs for Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, the contractor that operates and manages the site. "We felt we had a great dialogue with the speaker."

Last month, the nine members of the Aiken County legislative delegation wrote to U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu to lay out concerns about the effects of shifting funding away from H Canyon, as is proposed in the federal budget. Harrell spokesman Greg Foster said Monday that the speaker also planned to send a letter to Chu.