Florida state lawmaker Rep. Brad Drake recently had a conversation about the death penalty with a constituent at a local Waffle House restaurant. At issue: the legal battle surrounding the execution of convicted killer Manuel Valle.

The drugs normally used for lethal injections have been in short supply, so states have looked for alternative drug cocktails to use instead. Valle’s attorneys argued those new cocktails would cause him pain and were therefore cruel and unusual punishment. The courts disagreed and the execution went forward.

But Drake’s constituent felt Valle and others who’ve been killed by lethal injection got off too easy. The solution? Bring back the electric chair and firing squads.

Drake agreed, so he’s introduced a bill to do just that. The GOP-controlled Florida Legislature will consider it during the 2012 session that starts in January.

Listening to your constituents is one thing. Putting their controversial opinions up for a legislative vote is something else entirely.

Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, is appalled, saying, “Just when you thought that public policy in Florida couldn’t get worse, along comes a state rep who develops proposed legislation from what he overhears at the Waffle House.”

[Associated Press via Yahoo]

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