NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee has decided to bring back the electric chair.

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam on Thursday signed a bill into law allowing the state to electrocute death row inmates in the event the state is unable to obtain drugs used for lethal injections.

Tennessee lawmakers overwhelmingly passed the electric chair legislation in April, with the Senate voting 23-3 and the House 68-13 in favor of the bill.

Richard Dieter, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said Tennessee is the first state to enact a law to reintroduce the electric chair without giving prisoners an option.

“There are states that allow inmates to choose, but it is a very different matter for a state to impose a method like electrocution,” he said. “No other state has gone so far.”

A Haslam spokesman confirmed to The Associated Press that the governor had signed the measure Thursday evening , but offered no further comment.

States have found themselves running out of drugs used to execute prisoners after a European-led boycott of drug sales to prisons.

A Vanderbilt University poll released this week found that 56 percent of registered voters in Tennessee support the use of the electric chair, while 37 percent are against it.

Previous Tennessee law gave inmates who committed crimes before 1999 the choice of whether they wanted to die by electric chair or lethal injection.

A provision to apply the change to prisoners already sentenced to death has also raised a debate among legal experts.

Thirty-two states have the death penalty, and all of them rely at least in part on lethal injection.

Fewer than a dozen regularly carry out executions, among them Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Virginia and Texas, which leads the country. The federal government also uses lethal injection but rarely carries out executions.

The Supreme Court has never declared a method of execution unconstitutional on the grounds that it is cruel and unusual.

It upheld the firing squad in 1879, the electric chair in 1890 and lethal injection in 2008.