The state is considering repealing the death penalty amid a shortage of lethal injection drugs, with legislation to eliminate capital punishment clearing a major hurdle on Thursday.
Lawmakers voted 30 to 13 to advance the bill, which would replace capital punishment with life imprisonment for first-degree murder.
If that support holds, death penalty opponents would have enough votes to override the promised veto of Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican.
A coalition of Republicans who voted for the bill cast the death penalty as a wasteful and bungling government program.
Nebraska has not executed anyone since 1997 and has no way to carry out sentences for the 11 men on death row because its supply of sodium thiopental, an anesthetic that is part of its execution protocol, expired in 2013.
The bill must advance through two more rounds of voting in the one-house, nonpartisan Legislature.
Source: AP, April 16, 2015
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