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Nebraska’s Death Penalty Abolition Considered in Legislature Thursday

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (Nebraska) — This week, the Nebraska State Legislature heard a decision to abolish the death penalty. The death penalty was abolished by the Nebraska Legislature in 2015, and the decision was overturned by voters in 2016.

Omaha Senator Terrell McKinney, in the 108th session of the Nebraska Legislature, introduced a bill to abolish the death penalty in the Nebraska Constitution. If the measure is approved by Nebraska legislators, it will be passed by voters in the 2024 general election. Under the amendment, if approved by voters, the death penalty would be commuted to life imprisonment.

Senator McKinney said that the death penalty has always been inhuman because “murder is murder.” The death penalty is also unfair, he said, because many people were wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death, who were later exonerated. “If we want to evolve as a civilization, we need to move away from this tit-for-tat revenge mentality,” McKinney said. “Over time, it has been proven to be ineffective at deterring murder and only leads to what it is trying to prevent – death – and leads to an endless cycle of violence.” In addition, according to McKinney, life in prison gives a person time to reflect on their actions and can lead to the possibility of rehabilitation, according to an online update from the Nebraska Legislature.

No one testified against LR17CA, and the Legislative Assembly Judiciary Committee took no immediate action on the measure.

Nebraska State Senators rest on Friday and Monday. Nebraska’s 108th Legislative Session resumes on Tuesday, marking its 47th day.

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