Week 22: Hero – Nebraska

by Jackie_South on May 31, 2015

Nebraska_heroThis week, the award for our greatest hero of the last seven days goes to the Cornhusker State, Nebraska

Nebraska is a safely Republican state: it has voted for the Grand Old Party in all but one of the presidential elections since World War II. Its governor, senators and state-wide officials are all Republicans and 92 of its 93 counties voted for Mitt Romney in 2012.

Yet this week, the state’s legislature voted to abolish capital punishment: the first Republican-run state to do so for forty years.

This was done despite the opposition of Governor Pete Ricketts, who tried to veto the bill: the legislature overturned this veto on Tuesday.

Some of this is down to the political peculiarities of Nebraska, which has tended to be fairly moderate in its Republicanism. It is the only state to have a single legislative house; its state senators are elected without a partisan ticket and are unwhipped; it only needs 60% to overturn a governor’s veto rather than the more usual two-thirds majority. All of these factors played a role in this week’s decision.

But at a time when the loonies of the Tea Party and religious conservatives seem to have the whip-hand in the modern Republican Party, it is refreshing indeed to see a red state abolish the death party.

The state’s motto is “Equality Before The Law”. This week, Nebraska has proved it.

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