Nebraska Legislature Overrides Governor’s Veto And Ends Death Penalty In The State

Nebraska Senator and Death Penalty Opponent Ernie Chambers.
Nebraska Senator and Death Penalty Opponent Ernie Chambers.

Nebraska’s legislature voted to repeal the death penalty on a 30-19 vote Wednesday. Republican Governor Pete Ricketts vetoed the death penalty repeal bill, but the legislature overrode his veto with no extra votes to spare. 30 votes are needed to override a Governor’s veto in Nebraska. While the initial measure had reached the Governor’s desk with a veto-proof 32 votes, two lawmakers defected to the Governor’s side, making the final vote perilously close.

Nebraska joins 18 other U.S. states and the District of Columbia in banning the death penalty. However, it becomes the first Republican state to do so since North Dakota abolished its death penalty in 1973. A handful of blue states– Maryland, Connecticut, Illinois, New Mexico and New Jersey — have also abolished the death penalty in the last eight years.

Governor Ricketts expressed outrage at the veto override. He angrily tweeted:

My words cannot express how appalled I am that we have lost a critical tool to protect law enforcement and Nebraska families.

For death penalty opponent Senator Ernie Chambers, however, the Wednesday victory was a crowning achievement, after over three decades of working to repeal the death penalty in Nebraska. Chambers had tasted victory once before in 1979 when he also helped pass a repeal measure, but then the Nebraska legislature upheld Republican Governor Charles Thone’s veto. This time Chambers was able to prevail, with just enough votes from the legislature to overturn Governor Ricketts’ veto.

Defeating the death penalty in Nebraska required the cooperation of liberal, moderate and conservative lawmakers. While the lawmakers may have had very different reasons for wanting to abolish the state’s death penalty, they were able to work together to forge a coalition that not only passed the bill, but also had sufficient votes to override Governor Ricketts’ veto. In the process, Nebraska’s legislature demonstrated how lawmakers from different ideological camps can come together to form alliances capable of passing meaningful reform.

6 Replies to “Nebraska Legislature Overrides Governor’s Veto And Ends Death Penalty In The State”

  1. There are many people better off in the earth than on it, but they rarely incur the death penalty, or any punishment at all. Better to abolish it than to inflict it selectively on the poor, the weak, the outcast…and sometimes, the innocent.

  2. It amazes me how the GOP, which almost unanimously professes Christianity, is so hung-ho on state-sponsored murder. There is no evidence that heinous crimes are less likely in states who murder citizens. None. Look at Texas.
    Meanwhile, the poor, the blacks, Hispanics, men..all are killed at far higher rates than a white rapist or murderer. Not to mention the innocent men who have been killed because of a Governor’s need for notches on his law enforcement belt.
    And this, while the Europeans who make the drugs we used are pulling out of the death business, so states are being so very progressive and returning to firing squads and self-made drug mixtures. What’s next? Public hangings? Oh wait, they already want to do that to our President. Such ignorant, evil, fools masquerading as followers of a very tolerant, peaceful Jesus Christ.

  3. This is more in line with being Pro-life. As opposed to those who claim that moniker who are anti-sex.

    So how in the hell does a Death Penalty protect Law Enforcement? Or is the performing the Death Penalty a viable option for way too many cops on the job?

  4. The right vote was made. I have allways been against capital punishment. It is just to easy for the criminal.life in prison without the possibility of parole is much more appropiate. Can you think of a worse punishment than to be in a 8 by 12 foot cell for 23 hours a day.

  5. Now let’s get ‘er done on a Federal level.

    The lie that the American Death Penalty has deterred fools or evil people from committing murder is a joke.

    And, you’d have to be willfully ignorant, a fool, or both if you don’t believe innocent people have been wrongfully executed.

    We get proof of that every time a prisoner was exonerated and released due to DNA testing, lies, corruption and systemic racism.

    Or this…..

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/26-year-secret-kept-innocent-man-in-prison/

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