Nebraska makes history!
The Nebraska legislature, having passed a death penalty repeal bill last week, sustained that repeal by overriding today Governor Pete Ricketts’ veto by a vote of 30-19. This is a huge victory for the national movement to abolish the death penalty, and it was accomplished by a tremendous grass roots movement of Nebraskans to eliminate the financial waste of an arbitrary and capricious system that just didn’t work. More than that, Nebraskans decided that the death penalty was just plain immoral. Senator after Senator expressed the view that the death penalty was broken, expensive, arbitrary and, worse, racist and classist, but ultimately, that the death penalty was incongruent with their moral sensibilities. The Midwest leads the nation in repealing the death penalty, from Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin to Illinois and Iowa to now Nebraska, Midwestern values do not include the state’s power to punish by death.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, my home, is often called the gateway to the Midwest, so Pennsylvania is primed to join its midwestern neighbors, as well as neighbors West Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York, to repeal the death penalty, too. Pennsylvania has a conservative legislature. So does Nebraska. Pennsylvanians are overwhelmingly people of faith. So are Nebraskans. Pennsylvanians are concerned about fiscal responsibility, as are Nebraskans. Pennsylvanians care about justice, as do Nebraskans. If a conservative Nebraska legislature can vote four times to repeal the death penalty, including an override of a gubernatorial veto, we Pennsylvanians can also organize to repeal the death penalty.
But it is going to take hard work. And money. So I urge you, let your voices be heard. Make it clear that you support the governor’s moratorium on the death penalty, and that you support legislative repeal. And please, financially support the work of Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty by contributing today. We can end the death penalty in Pennsylvania. But only with your hard work and financial support. Let’s join those seven states in seven years that have abandoned state-sanctioned killing.
Marshall Dayan, Co-chair
Pennsylvanians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
PS: Nick and Kathleen were watching history in the making from the balcony.