Nebraska Becomes First Conservative State to Repeal the Death Penalty Since 1973

Neb. state Sen. Ernie Chambers, right, of Omaha, celebrates with Sen. Kathy Campbell, left, of Lincoln, after the one-house Legislature voted 30-19 to override Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican who supports the death penalty. (Nati Harnik/AP)
Neb. state Sen. Ernie Chambers, right, of Omaha, celebrates with Sen. Kathy Campbell, left, of Lincoln, after the one-house Legislature voted 30-19 to override Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican who supports the death penalty. (Nati Harnik/AP)

Nebraska just became the first Republican-controlled state since 1973 to repeal the death penalty.

On Wednesday, Nebraska lawmakers voted 30 to 19 to override Gov. Pete Ricketts’ veto of their bill to repeal the death penalty. Exactly 30 votes were needed override the veto.

“Today we are doing something that transcends me, that transcends this Legislature, that transcends this state,” said Sen. Ernie Chambers, who sponsored the bill, according to The New York Times. By his own estimate, he has tried to repeal the death penalty 37 times in his four decades as a Nebraska lawmaker.

Senator Chambers, an Independent who has repeatedly tried to repeal the death penalty, credited Republican lawmakers for overriding the veto, The Guardian reported. While officially nonpartisan, Nebraska’s legislature is dominated by Republicans.

“I wish that I could say that it was my brilliance that brought us to this point, but this would not be true, and we all know it. Had not the conservative faction decided it was time for a change, there’s no way that what is happening today would be happening today,” he said.

Advocates say the bipartisan effort to repeal the death penalty, which was supported by some Republicans for religious and fiscal reasons, is indicative of a growing trend among the GOP. These Republicans have argued that the death penalty is costly and inefficient, with some calling it un-Christian.

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SOURCE:  Cristina Maza
Christian Science Monitor

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