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California takes step toward using one drug in executions
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SACRAMENTO . (AP) — California took the next step Tuesday in its plan to use a single drug to execute condemned prisoners, nine years after the nation’s most populous state last carried out the death penalty.

Spurred by a lawsuit, the state sent its proposed new procedures to the California Office of Administrative Law, but they won’t be published for more than a week. The regulations for using one drug instead of the current three were proposed as numerous states grapple with their execution policies because of legal challenges and a shortage of lethal drugs.

The regulations were submitted to meet a deadline in a legal settlement between the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and families of murder victims who accused the state of dragging its heels.

No one has been executed in California since 2006 after a federal judge ordered an overhaul of the state’s lethal injection procedures but said California could resume executions if it began using a single drug.

Gov. Jerry Brown said in 2012 that California would consider switching to a single-drug lethal injection, but officials said the process stalled for three years, in part because of the nationwide shortage of execution drugs.

The proposed regulations are expected to be published Nov. 6. That will trigger a 62-day public comment period capped by a public hearing, department spokeswoman Terry Thornton said.

Even inmates — including the 747 awaiting execution on death row — will be able to weigh in.

In 2011, a Marin County judge invalidated the state’s previous attempt at drafting regulations because she said the state failed to explain why it chose the three-drug mixture over the one-drug method.