Reprinted from the June 2015 Post Script of Church & Life.
Congratulations to the Nebraska State Legislature (a unicameral body) which on May 27, 2015 abolished the death penalty by overriding the governor’s veto! This occurred in spite of the Governor, Pete Ricketts, who campaigned on a pro-death penalty. The vote was 30-19, just enough to override a veto. In every session of the legislature since 1981, a bill to abolish the death penalty has been introduced. Persistence is sometimes rewarded! Nebraska, the 19th state in the United States to eliminate the death penalty, is the first state with a predominantly Republican legislature to do so since North Dakota abolished the death penalty 42 years ago. At the time of passage there were ten people in Nebraska on death row, but only three inmates have been executed since 1976 when the US Supreme Court allowed resumption of executions. During that time, 11 people have been given clemency.