HB 6 is the most consequential life and death bill that passed and signed by Governor Landry in the recent 2024 Crime Special Session of the Louisiana State Legislature. HB 6 extends the means of execution of another human being by nitrogen hypoxia (asphyxiation) and the electric chair. It also had elements of secrecy to protect anyone associated with the administering of the death penalty.

During the session we heard from victims’ families who felt justice would be exacted if this were carried out and victim’s families who chose mercy as justice and did not want this carried out. On behalf of the Louisiana Conference of Bishops, one bishop stayed six hours to deliver his testimony vigorously opposing this bill.

Pharmacists and many pharmaceutical companies will not provide the lethal injection drugs.  And Airgas, Inc, the largest distributor nitrogen in the U.S, refused to give it to Alabama and any state because it was not consistent with their company values.  They did not need secrecy.  There is concern that the State of Texas is using expired drugs since the pharmacist will not give it to them for lethal injections.

As far as using nitrogen gas that induces asphyxiation, experts appointed by United Nations Human Rights Council earlier this month cautioned that this execution method would violate the prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment.

What is equally disturbing is that the American Veterinary Medical Association wrote in their 2020 euthanasia guidelines that nitrogen hypoxia can be an acceptable method of euthanasia, under certain conditions for pigs, but not for other mammals.

The Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops, with all resolve, opposed HB 6, at every stage, since it will usher in a culture of death by sanctioning new means of execution of another Human Being on behalf of the citizens of Louisiana.