Monday, 24 March 2008

Death penalty debate coming back to the Capitol

Death penalty debate coming back to the Capitol

Associated Press - March 24, 2008 4:45 PM ET

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Opponents of the death penalty will rally at the Capitol tomorrow morning.

Mark Weddleton of Nebraskans Against the Death Penalty says he hopes Nebraska's senators will reflect the changing mood in the state.

Senator Brad Ashford, chairman of the Legislature's Judiciary Committee, will lead this year's debate.

Ashford says he's not counting votes yet. He says it's "a down-in-the-gut kind of thing."

The bill from Senator Ernie Chambers (LB1063) would change the maximum penalty to life in prison without possibility of parole. Chambers has introduced similar bills for nearly four decades, but the closest he came to having the law changed was in 1979, when his bill passed on a 26-22 vote but was vetoed by then-Governor Charley Thone.

Governor Dave Heineman said he'll veto the bill if it passes. Senators would need 30 votes for an override.

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