Congratulations, Nebraska, Your Governor Isn't Allowed To Kill You Anymore
Know that civilized thing that some states in this great nation do, where they exact retribution for murder crimes by murdering the murderer right back, because we are bloodthirsty monsters? Well yay, because Nebraska has decided to stop doing that! The conservative legislature has executed the death penalty entirely, and managed to stick its fingers in the wingnut Nebraska governor's eyes in the process, by overriding his veto:
Nebraska on Wednesday became the first conservative state in more than 40 years to abolish the death penalty, with lawmakers defying their Republican governor, Pete Ricketts, a staunch supporter of capital punishment who had lobbied vigorously against banning it.
After more than two hours of emotional speeches at the Capitol here, the Legislature, by a 30-to-19 vote that cut across party lines, overrode the governor’s veto of a bill repealing the state’s death penalty law. After the repeal measure passed, by just enough votes to overcome the veto, dozens of spectators in the balcony burst into celebration.
Gov. Ricketts is SO MAD. Because how can you even do criminal justice to people, if you don't get to kill some of them? He issued a statement explaining just how disgusted and appalled he is:
My words cannot express how appalled I am that we have lost a critical tool to protect law enforcement and Nebraska families. While the Legislature has lost touch with the citizens of Nebraska, I will continue to stand with Nebraskans and law enforcement on this important issue.
Oh really? What's he going to do? Go rogue and kill bad guys himself?
Of course, what's funny about this "critical tool" that Nebraskans so desperately need, in order to be safe, is that nobody has been executed in the state since 1997. We guess it's just THAT MUCH of a deterrent that nobody has the guts to kill anybody in Nebraska. (Most experts agree that it is not a deterrent.)
What's a bit interesting is how Nebraska came to this moment. For one thing, Mother Jones reports there's a growing contingent of conservatives who don't feel all that comfortable with state-sponsored killing anymore, for both fiscal conservative and WWJD reasons:
Conservatives make a number of arguments against the death penalty, including the high costs and a religion-inspired argument about taking life. "I may be old-fashioned, but I believe God should be the only one who decides when it is time to call a person home," Nebraska state Sen. Tommy Garrett, a conservative Republican who opposes the death penalty, said last month.
It is Science Fact that, while some misinformed people out there talk about how they don't want to spend all the taxpayer moneys to keep a murderer alive in prison, it's actually more expensive to kill them, due to appeals and the high cost and difficulty of getting lethal injection drugs, et cetera.
A person familiar with Nebraska politics wrote in to Talking Points Memo to give a bit more background on how Nebraska got here. Because of rampant overcrowding in prisons and out-of-control costs, a study was done on prison reform and sentencing requirements, and it turns out that the folks in the Department of Corrections, helped along by state prosecutors, were fudging numbers all over the place, to keep the feds from stepping in and smacking them around. As the TPM reader notes, "No matter which party, lawmakers don't like being lied to here." And once you realize you're being lied to about one thing, you're more open to find out what else you're being lied to about.
So the conservative lege decided to look into that and found out the state is being ripped off and lied to, and the death penalty isn't really feasible anymore. Then some conservative Jesus-lovers decided to go all hippie about "make love don't kill people," and it created a PERFECT STORM.
And now Nebraska is not allowed to kill you. Win!