LINCOLN — In a monumental vote Wednesday, the Nebraska Legislature passed legislation to end the death penalty.
With Gov. Pete Ricketts vowing to veto the repeal bill, attention now turns to an override vote that will likely take place next week.
Lawmakers voted 32-15 Wednesday to give third-round approval to Legislative Bill 268, which replaces lethal injection with a maximum punishment of life in prison. A minimum of 30 votes is needed to override a veto.
As they did during the second round of debate, opponents once again filibustered the bill in an attempt to kill it for the session. But lawmakers voted 34-14 to cut off debate.
While the bill must clear one final and formidable hurdle, supporters of repeal were joyful at the historic step taken Wednesday in the State Capitol.
“I feel very proud to be a member of this Legislature today,” said Sen. Tanya Cook of Omaha.
Meanwhile, Sen. Bill Kintner of Papillion said he and other death penalty supporters will give everything they have to make the expected veto stand.
“There should be no doubt this is a liberal Legislature that could care less about the people of Nebraska,” Kintner said moments after the vote.