Nebraska Veto Override Abolishes Death Penalty

Lawmakers get just enough votes to overturn governor's decision
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2015 4:48 PM CDT
Nebraska Veto Override Abolishes Death Penalty
Nebraska state Sen. Ernie Chambers has pushed for repeal of the death penalty for four decades in office.   (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

(Newser) – Nebraska no longer has the death penalty. State lawmakers today overrode the governor's veto of legislation to abolish it by a vote of 30-19, getting the precise number of votes necessary to do so, reports the Omaha World-Herald. The move to defy Gov. Pete Ricketts makes Nebraska "the first Republican-controlled state in the U.S. to repeal the death penalty since North Dakota in 1973," reports NPR. It joins 18 other states that have banned capital punishment.

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Opponents of the move wasted little time after the vote, however: State Sen. Beau McCoy unveiled a group called Nebraskans for Justice that will explore the possibility of a ballot initiative to reinstate the death penalty. Nebraska currently has 10 men on death row—an 11th died on Sunday of natural causes, notes AP—but they now have "de facto life sentences" because the state can no longer execute people, reports the World-Herald. (Read more Nebraska stories.)

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