The Slatest

Nebraska Governor Vetoes Bill Abolishing the Death Penalty

An electric chair nicknamed “Old Sparky” on display at the Texas Prison Museum in Texas.

Photo by Paul Buck/AFP/Getty Images

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts vetoed a bill Tuesday that would have abolished the death penalty in the state. The measure was approved by the state legislature last week with a 32-to-15 majority, giving the state legislature the 30 votes needed to override the Republican governor’s veto. A vote to override the veto is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

“If the lawmakers are successful, Nebraska will become the first largely conservative state in more than 40 years to strike down the death penalty,” according to the New York Times. “Republican legislators who have voted in favor of abolition said they believed the death penalty was inefficient, expensive and out of place with their party’s values… [while] [o]ther lawmakers cited religious or moral reasons for their support of the death penalty ban.”

The state has been having trouble procuring the lethal injection cocktail needed to carry out death sentences; the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled the use of the electric chair unconstitutional in 2008. Ricketts laid out his reasoning for the veto in a letter to state lawmakers on Tuesday saying “proponents of repealing the death penalty are using arguments that are both incorrect and inapplicable to Nebraska.” The death penalty is currently legal in 32 states; the last state to ban it was Maryland in 2013.