LINCOLN – Nebraska abolished the death penalty on Wednesday in a landmark veto-override vote backed by an unusual coalition of conservatives who oppose capital punishment.
Senators in the one-house Legislature voted 30-19 to override Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican who supports the death penalty. The vote
makes Nebraska the first traditionally conservative state to eliminate the punishment since North Dakota in 1973. “Whenever anything historic occurs, it’s never the doing of one person,” said independent Sen. Ernie Chambers, an independent who introduced a repeal measure 38 times. “I’ve been pushing for this for 40 years, but all of this time it’s never been done. If it could be done by one man, it would have been done a long time ago.” Nebraska joins 18 other states and the District of Columbia in banning the ultimate punishment.