In a historic vote Wednesday, senators voted 30-19 to override a veto from Gov. Pete Ricketts.
The bill (LB268) had passed a week ago on a 32-15 vote. Ricketts had worked hard in the last week to get senators to flip their votes. He needed three to change their minds, but only two -- Sens. Jerry Johnson of Wahoo and John Murante of Gretna -- changed their votes to sustain the veto.
"This is it," said Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha as he entered the legislative chamber to begin the debate on a motion to override the veto. Chambers has offered a bill to repeal the death penalty 40 times in his tenure in the Legislature.
In 1979, Chambers won legislative approval of death penalty repeal, but the bill fell victim to a veto by Gov. Charles Thone.
Nebraska lawmakers debated more than two hours Wednesday on the motion to override Ricketts' veto.
"Once we take this step, there is not going to be a falling apart of this state," Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers said at the start of discussion on the floor of the Legislature. "This building will not implode."
The historic significance of the event attracted a large group of onlookers, legislative staffers and media watched as debate began at 1:30 p.m......