Gov. Pete Ricketts says his administration will wait until death penalty petition signatures are verified before deciding whether to proceed with executions.
"I think it's important to take this one step at a time," Ricketts said Tuesday. "There's a process in place here I think we need to follow."
Death penalty supporters last week turned in 166,692 petition signatures from Nebraska voters calling for capital punishment to be reinstated and for the issue to be put to a public vote in November 2016.
If verified, that's more than enough to stop the death penalty repeal passed by the Legislature over Ricketts' veto in May.
Nebraskans for the Death Penalty needs about 57,000 verified signatures -- 5 percent of the state's registered voters — to put the issue to a vote and about 114,000 — 10 percent of registered voters — to stop the repeal from going into effect.
The state still does not have the means to carry out an execution of any of the 10 men on death row.
Department of Correctional Services Director Scott Frakes is trying to import two of the three drugs in the state’s lethal injection protocol, but has not been able to get the sodium thiopental and pancuronium bromide from a broker in India into the country. The department has a supply of the third drug, potassium chloride.
Ricketts and his father, Joe Ricketts, have been reported as the largest individual financial contributors to the campaign to restore the death penalty, which had raised $652,000 by the end of July, as reported to the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission. At the last filing with the commission, the governor and his father had contributed at least $300,000.
Source: JournalStar.com, Zach Pluacek, Sept. 1, 2015
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