State legislators sustain Gov. Pete Ricketts’ veto of a bill which would have restored voting rights to felons immediately upon completion of their sentence.
At present, ex-offenders must wait two years after serving their time before getting their voting rights back.
Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha moved to override the veto of his bill, LB 75, which would do away with the two-year wait, telling colleagues to resist the pressure from the governor to uphold his veto.
“Erase the politics; have the courage to stand up to the politics,” Wayne told colleagues during legislative debate on his override motion. “Have the courage to say we’re not moving backwards, but it’s time for Nebraska to move forward.”
LB 75 would have done away with the two-year wait, restoring voting rights immediately upon completion of a prison sentence or probation as a result of a felony conviction.
Gov. Ricketts denied he exerted political pressure to sustain his veto, stating he believes the wait is proper.
“First of all, I think it’s reasonable to ask somebody who has been a felon, somebody who has created that level of crime, to demonstrate that they’re going to be a good citizen over two years before they get that ability to vote back. I think that’s reasonable,” according to Ricketts.
Ricketts made the comments during a news conference Tuesday morning as the Unicameral debated the override motion.
In the end, Wayne fell seven votes short of the 30 needed to override the veto. He had a tough task ahead of him when he stated he would attempt an override. LB 75 passed on a 27-13 vote with nine senators abstaining.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]