Gov. Pete Ricketts expresses disappointment the legislature overrode three of his vetoes, especially the veto of the bill that repealed the death penalty.
Ricketts needed to change the votes of three senators to sustain his veto of LB 268, the bill ending capital punishment in Nebraska.
He only got two.
Ricketts won’t say whether he thought he had the votes going into the override debate.
“Some of the senators we talked to didn’t give me an indication one way or another on which way they were going to vote,” Ricketts tells reporters.
Ricketts worked hard to turn enough senators to uphold his veto. Two senators, Sen. Jerry Johnson of Wahoo and Sen. John Murante of Omaha, switched their votes. The needed third vote never materialized.
After 3 ½ hours debate, the Unicameral voted 30-19 to override Ricketts.
The outcome didn’t please the governor.
“Oh, I’m appalled that the legislature overrode my veto on the death penalty,” Ricketts says. “Again, this is an important tool for public safety. It is one of the ways that we can help protect our men and women in law enforcement, our officers in corrections, it’s one of the ways we keep the public safe.”
A group has been organized, entitled Nebraskans for Justice, to explore the possibility of taking the issue to a vote of the people.
Ricketts says he will support petition drive to place the issue on the ballot.
“I absolutely believe the people of Nebraska ought to have the ability to vote on keeping the death penalty.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]