By a vote of 30-19, legislators in Nebraska have successfully ended the death penalty in the state. The vote on LB 268 was held today in order to override Governor Pete Ricketts' veto and officially pass the bill.
Legislators agreed that the death penalty did not serve Nebraska’s best interests, citing its risks, ineffectiveness and expense.
Nebraska is now the 19th state to abolish the death penalty in the United States.
Diann Rust-Tierney, Executive Director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty issued the following statement in response to the history making vote:
“Today is a great day in the state of Nebraska, and indeed, the nation. Nebraska is a microcosm of what has been happening all across this country. A broad cross-section of people of faith, survivors of homicide, progressives, conservatives, Democrats and Republicans have come together to end the death penalty and make way for a more sensible and effective approach to public safety.
“This latest action in Nebraska demonstrates even more clearly that the death penalty is a habit of the past.
“The death penalty has increasingly fallen into disuse and disfavor. In 2014 there were only 72 new death sentences in the United States and 35 executions. Many states have either abolished the death penalty outright or essentially abandoned the practice. Popular support for the capital punishment as an abstract idea has declined as well.
“When politics, grandstanding and overheated rhetoric are set aside and the public and policymakers take a close look at the death penalty in practice- they don’t like what they see.
“The death penalty does not enhance public safety. It takes focus, attention and resources away from the things that address the root causes of violence: education; a stronger economy; conflict resolution and violence prevention programs and tangible support for victims.
“And it does real harm to our values: equal justice before the law and the belief in the fundamentally human capacity to change-- even redemption.
“Congratulations to the people of Nebraska and the Nebraska Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.
Thank you for your tireless and dedicated and successful effort to move this country forward.”
We also thank all of our supporters who contacted their representatives about #NERepeal; your work is vital to this movement! Be sure to send a note of thanks and congratulations to our state affiliate Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty!