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Nebraska Becomes 1st Red State in 40 Years to Abolish Death Penalty

Published by: Ronnie on 27th May 2015 | View all blogs by Ronnie

Nebraska Becomes 1st Red State in 40 Years to Abolish Death Penalty

Despite staunch opposition from Republican Governor Pete Ricketts, the Legislature made Nebraska the 18th US state (plus Washington, D.C.) to do away with the death penalty, and the first historically conservative state to do it in over 40 years. Rickets vetoed the measure on Tuesday, only to watch helplessly as legislators overrode his veto by a 30 to 19 vote. The bill repealing the death penalty has been the subject of heated debate for months; and Rickets has been the most vocal opponent with dozens of tv appearances to urge citizens to pressure their senators to vote no on the measure. The measure has also been vigorously opposed by relatives of murder victims whose convicted killers are awaiting execution and numerous law enforcement officials. Six states have outlawed capital punishment in the last eight years, but no conservative states have since North Dakota in 1973.

Even as some states are repealing the death penalty in recent years, others have had to delay executions indefinitely because of a shortage of the drugs used in lethal injections. The drugs are manufactured by European companies, and many have denied access to US authorities. The shortage has even caught up with Texas, where by far the most executions occur, as officials there are down to one lethal dose of the drugs. Utah recently passed a measure allowing firing squad executions to combat the drug shortages, and Arkansas, Idaho and Wyoming are considering it too. Tennessee has also been unable to obtain lethal injection drugs, prompting lawmakers to bring back the electric chair in 2014. Death row inmates have challenged the constitutionality of the chair, however, and the Tennessee Supreme Court will hear arguments in that case beginning in July.

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