Gov. Pete Ricketts says his administration is moving to carry out executions in wake of voter approval of the death penalty.
Ricketts has signed off on a lethal injection protocol drafted by the Department of Correctional Services. The governor says the department is working on plans to revive capital punishment. He says there is no timeline at present to carry out executions.
Ricketts says the administration is simply carrying out the will of the people.
“The vast majority of Nebraskans voted to keep capital punishment as a tool for public safety; 61% of the folks voted in favor of it,” Ricketts tells reporters. “So, it’s really up to us now in state government to be able to carry out the will of the people and be able to implement those sentences.”
Voters in November overturned the Unicameral’s repeal of the death penalty.
Nebraska has 10 inmates on death row. The state last carried out an execution 20 years ago.
Corrections officials revised the initial lethal injection protocol it proposed following a public hearing on it, removing a provision that would have kept secret the supplier of lethal injection drugs.
State Sen. John Kuehn of Heartwell sponsors LB 661 which would allow state officials to withhold information that would identify individuals or businesses making, compounding, or prescribing drugs for lethal injection. The Government, Military, and Veterans Committee heard public testimony on the bill Thursday.
Ricketts says his administration will push forward with or without the measure.
“Other states have passed this as a way to do it,” Ricketts says. “We’ve got a protocol right now that we’re working on with regard to regulations. Whether we have a shield law or not, we’re going to pursue our regulation. Certainly, again, I’ll let the legislature vet through their process. Other states have passed shield laws as a way to help them. So, this certainly has potential.”
Sen. Kuehn has testified that 15 or the 31 states with the death penalty have shield laws. He says he has modeled his bill after a shield law adopted in Georgia.
Nebraska does not have the drugs needed to carry out an execution by lethal injection.