Governor, Speaker & Attorney General Outline Lethal Injection Proposal
Gov. Dave Heineman today announced his support of a bill that would make lethal injection the method of execution in the state. The bill will be sponsored by Speaker Mike Flood of Norfolk and will be introduced in the Nebraska Legislature today.
"Nebraska needs a legal means of execution," Gov. Heineman said. "There is broad support for the death penalty in our state and this issue needs to be resolved during this legislative session. Speaker Flood has my full support."
State law allows those convicted in capital crimes to be sentenced to death, but Nebraska currently lacks an approved method to carry out sentences. Last year, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that death by electrocution was unconstitutional. Electrocution has been the state's sole means of execution since the death penalty was reinstated in 1973.
Speaker Flood said, "The bill that I will be introducing today, if enacted by the Legislature, will provide the state with a constitutionally acceptable means of enforcing the death penalty. I firmly believe that the death penalty remains appropriate in those circumstances involving the most heinous of crimes, and I expect a thorough and deliberate debate."
Attorney General Bruning said, "Nebraskans believe that death is the appropriate sentence for those who commit the most horrific murders. Those who commit the ultimate crime deserve the ultimate punishment."
The bill proposes a written execution protocol be developed by the Department of Correctional Services that includes the selection of lethal substance or substances to be used. The protocol would be exempt from the approval process followed for most state agency procedures, as outlined in Nebraska's Administrative Procedure Act. Similar authority for developing execution protocol has been granted to corrections agencies in 22 states.
The bill also extends protections to members of an execution team, barring individuals from disciplinary actions by licensing boards and ensuring confidentiality unless extraordinary good cause could be shown in a court of law.
Nationwide, 36 states use lethal injection with 27 states adopting it as their sole method of execution.