Legislative Speaker Galen Hadley says state senators relied on their emotions, not research, during the somber debate to repeal the death penalty in Nebraska.
Hadley says state senators understood the seriousness of the debate when they overrode the governor’s veto of the bill to repeal the death penalty.
“It was so somber me,” Hadley says. “I felt, and I listened to every speaker, and to a person it was kind of their raw emotions coming to the front.”
State senators debated the motion to override the veto of LB 268 for three-and-a-half hours. Hadley says that for the most part senators put away their statistics and studies in their arguments for and against capital punishment.
Hadley says he listened closely to each senator.
“I thought so many of them were talking from their hearts as to why they were going to make the vote they did,” Hadley says.
The Unicameral voted 32-15 to pass LB 268 on final reading. Gov. Pete Ricketts vetoed the bill. Two senators switched votes during the override debate. The final vote on override, 30-19, had the minimum votes needed to override Gov. Ricketts.
Nebraska last executed a death-row inmate in 1997. There are 10 inmates currently on death row at the Tecumseh state prison.
A petition drive has been launched to place the issue on the 2016 ballot.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]