Nebraska has become the first conservative state in more than 40 years to abolish the death penalty. Legislature owned over the ban by overriding a veto by Republican state governor Pete Ricketts, who strongly opposed the decision to ban death penalty. With the minimum number of votes, the bill was passed.
Ricketts banned the bill last week; he argued that state should have the option of capital punishment, at least in rare cases for the safety of the public.
“My words cannot express how appalled I am that we have lost a critical tool to protect law enforcement and Nebraska families,” said Ricketts in a statement. “While the Legislature has lost touch with the citizens of Nebraska, I will continue to stand with Nebraskans and law enforcement on this important issue.”
In over 40 years, no Republican-controlled state has forbidden the death penalty.
“We are a nation that is turning away from the death penalty. This victory stands as a testament to what can happen in our sister states,” said Danielle Conrad, executive director of Nebraska chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
In a poll conducted by CNN/ORC last month, only 27% of respondents said that they described the capital punishment as “cruel and unusual.”
Since 2007, six states have banned the capital punishment. Nebraska is the seventh.