Nebraska Legislature Votes in Favor of Repealing Death Penalty
Today the Nebraska Legislature voted 32-15 to repeal the death penalty. The vote is the first to pass in 36 years and is expected to be vetoed by Governor Pete Ricketts. In the coming week an override veto will likely take place, which will ultimately determine whether the bill will become law. In order to override Ricketts’ veto, the Legislature will have to maintain a minimum of 30 votes to repeal the death penalty, reports Omaha.com.
According to Omaha.com, this legislative session in Nebraska has shown a new bolstered support for ending the death penalty on the part of Republican senators. In an open letter published earlier this month by Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, Republican senators and other conservative supporters of the repeal provide numerous reasons to get rid of the death penalty. The letter points to conservative values that the death penalty inherently does not support such as “limited government, fiscal responsibility, [and] the right to life and liberty.” Additionally, conservatives highlight the grave risk of executing innocent people:
“Since 1973, more than 149 individuals in the US have been sentenced to death before new evidence showed that they were wrongfully convicted and exonerated them. Other executions have gone forward despite compelling evidence that the condemned may have been innocent. It is difficult to imagine a greater abuse of government power than it executing one of its own citizens who is innocent. It also is difficult to reconcile a policy that poses such risks with a culture that truly values life.”
Senator Ernie Chambers, who has championed the bill, is confident that current votes will not sway if an override veto is required. “The record should be crystal clear on what it is we are doing; it is historic,” Chambers said. “We have the opportunity to take one small step for the Legislature, a giant leap for civilization.”
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