NEBRASKA (USA): LEGISLATURE PASSED BILL TO REPEAL DEATH PENALTY
May 20, 2015: Today LB 268 passed its third and final round of debate on a 32-15 vote, receiving bipartisan support.
Gov. Pete Ricketts has indicated that he will veto the bill, but a veto can be overridden with the support of 30 senators. The bill is prospective only, so if it becomes law, it will not affect the 11 inmates currently on Nebraska's death row.
Nebraska has executed three prisoners, all by electrocution, since re-enacting the death penalty in the 1970s. Its last execution was in December 1997. The Nebraska vote is notable in the national debate over capital punishment because it was bolstered by conservatives who oppose the death penalty for religious reasons and say it is a waste of taxpayer money. Ricketts, who is serving his 1st year in office, is a death penalty supporter, and has vowed to veto the bill. Other states have done so in recent years: Maryland in 2013, Connecticut in 2012, Illinois in 2011, New Mexico in 2009 and New Jersey in 2007. Independent senator Ernie Chambers of Omaha, who sponsored the Nebraska legislation, has fought for 4 decades to end capital punishment in the state. (Source: The Guardian, 20/05/2015)