Gov. Pete Ricketts says all efforts by his administration to buy the drugs needed for executions or to pursue executions will be suspended until the voters decide capital punishment in Nebraska.
Ricketts acknowledges the state has been frustrated in efforts to recoup $54,400 from a foreign buyer who never delivered lethal injection drugs.
“Well, right now, we’re reviewing the purchase agreement and we will have further conversations with the vendor there,” Ricketts tells reporters. “I think the important thing is that Nebraskans will have the opportunity to vote on this in November of 2016.”
A referendum petition drive not only succeeded in placing the issue on the November ballot next year, it blocked the Unicameral’s repeal of the death penalty from taking effect.
The Ricketts Administration paid Chris Harris, a broker in India, for lethal injection drugs. The Federal Drug Administration will not allow them to enter the country.
Ricketts isn’t sure if the state can get a refund.
“Right now it’s not clear whether or not we can get a refund from the vendor, that’s correct,” Ricketts says in response to a question from a reporter.
Ricketts says it might prove an expensive lesson of not entering a contract without the promise to deliver.
“In this case, we didn’t anticipate the FDA would be blocking us on this,” according to Ricketts. “So, there’s always going to be unexpected things come up and you can use that as lessons to able to improve your processes going forward.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]