Governor Signs Lethal Injection Bill into Law
Gov. Dave Heineman today signed a bill that makes lethal injection the method of execution in the state. The bill, LB 36, was sponsored by Speaker Mike Flood of Norfolk.
"Nebraska needed a legal means of execution," Gov. Heineman said. "There is broad support for the death penalty in our state and this issue needed to be resolved during this legislative session. I want to thank Speaker Flood for his work on this bill."
State law allows those convicted in capital crimes to be sentenced to death, but prior to this bill, Nebraska lacked an approved method to carry out those 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, "This law provides 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."
Attorney General Bruning said, "Legislators were thorough and deliberative as they moved through the process of adopting this bill. Those who commit the ultimate crime deserve the ultimate punishment. Now Nebraska has a method of execution that I'm confident will pass constitutional muster."
Under LB 36, an execution protocol will be developed by the Department of Correctional Services. This includes the selection of lethal substance or substances to be used. Similar authority for developing execution protocol has been granted to corrections agencies in 22 states.
LB 36 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.