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California: With state executions on hold, death penalty foes rethink ballot strategy

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California advocates of abolishing the death penalty got a jolt of momentum in March, when Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he would not allow any executions to take place while he was in office.
But after trying twice this decade to persuade voters to end capital punishment, they have no plans to go to the ballot again in 2020. Rather than seeking to build on Newsom’s temporary reprieve for Death Row inmates, activists are taking their own pause.
Grappling with the legacy of their two failed initiatives, advocates are reassessing their strategy and retooling their message. Natasha Minsker, a political consultant who has long been involved with abolition efforts, said the governor’s moratorium has given advocates the opportunity to do long-term planning.
“There’s this excitement and energy in our movement that we haven’t had in a long time,” Minsker said.
Newsom’s executive order caught many Californians by surprise. Although he supported the unsuccessful ballot measures to abolish t…

Confusion over Nebraska's execution drugs

OMAHA, Neb. —New questions are arising about Nebraska's effort to obtain the drugs needed to execute prisoners on death row.

Federal sources stated that the Drug Enforcement Administration and Food and Drug Administration said they have no idea what Nebraska officials are referring to when discussing that they're 'working with' Federal Agencies.

Gov. Pete Ricketts said during an October news conference that the state is working with the DEA, trying to get execution drugs from India.

Agents in St. Louis said that no one had spoken to Nebraska about this and officials at the DEA headquarters stated that nothing has changed, like they said weeks ago, the DEA will not approve the importation of this drug.

The governor's corrections director also told state senator's that he is working with the Food and Drug Administration, but a senior-level official in the agency's headquarters said the only word that matters is the court order blocking sodium thiopental importation.

Corrections spokesperson Dawn-Renee Smith is now attempting to clarify Ricketts' and Frakes' words:

"'Working with' simply means that we are still in the process of obtaining the chemicals and completing any necessary steps required by the DEA and/or the FDA."

The state indicated that it has taken some new action within the last week.

Source: KETV, David Earl, November 27, 2015

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