State legislators have advanced as bill that would repeal the death penalty in Nebraska.
Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha has succeeded in getting first-round approval to Legislative Bill 268 on a 30-to-13 vote, which if it holds would be enough votes to override a promised gubernatorial veto.
Gov. Pete Ricketts’ office released a written statement after the Unicameral’s action.
“Today’s vote for Senator Chambers’ plan to repeal the death penalty is out of step with Nebraskans who tell me that they believe the death penalty remains an important tool for public safety. If this legislation comes to my desk, I will veto it. I urge senators to reconsider their decision and to stand with law enforcement who need all the tools we can give them to protect public safety.”
Another avenue remains for opponents of the bill. Though they decided against a filibuster during the first round of debate, they could mount a filibuster when the bill returns for the second round of debate. The vote threshold to overcome a filibuster is higher than the threshold to override a veto. Supporters would have to get 33 votes to end a filibuster and force a vote.