Nebraska Has Abolished the Death Penalty

Christine Rousselle
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Posted: May 27, 2015 5:31 PM
Nebraska Has Abolished the Death Penalty

The Nebraska legislature has overridden Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) veto and abolished the death penalty in the state. Ricketts vetoed the bill yesterday, but that veto was overturned on a 30-19 vote.

From the New York Times:

Nebraska on Wednesday became the first conservative state in more than 40 years to abolish the death penalty, with lawmakers defying their Republican governor, Pete Ricketts, a staunch supporter of capital punishment who had lobbied vigorously against banning it.

By a 30 to 19 vote that cut across party lines, the Legislature overrode the governor’s veto on Tuesday of a bill repealing the state’s death penalty law. The measure garnered just enough votes to overcome the veto.

The vote at the State Capitol here capped a monthslong battle that pitted most lawmakers in the unicameral Legislature against the governor, many law enforcement officials and some family members of murder victims whose killers are on death row. The Legislature approved the repeal bill three times this year, each time by a veto-proof majority, before sending it to Mr. Ricketts’s desk.

Nebraska has not executed anyone since 1997. Including Nebraska, 19 states have abolished the death penalty.