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Thursday, May 21, marked the completion of Day 85. While it seems we just began the session, some days often feel like an eternity. With 5 days remaining, eyes are fixed on what is left undone. Once again, controversial issues, receiving their second and third rounds of debate, were addressed.
On Wednesday, the Legislature debated Senator Ernie Chamber’s LB286 to repeal the death penalty. As a supporter of the death penalty, I firmly fought against repealing the death penalty. During every round of debate, I insisted on the need for society to ensure punishments that fit the crime. There are instances where the criminal’s actions are so heinous the death penalty is necessary for the security and safety of civil society. With the violence in Tecumseh prison and multiple violent deaths in Omaha, the need for the death penalty remains evident. This is not only my position, but the majority position of Nebraskans in District 16 and across the State.
Ultimately, LB286 was advanced by the Legislature with 32 votes in favor, 15 votes in opposition, and 2 abstaining votes. I voted in opposition of repealing the death penalty. LB286 was presented to Governor Ricketts who strongly supports the death penalty and will certainly veto the Legislature’s decision. Upon veto, the bill will return for a veto override debate. This will be a historic debate for the State, as no conservative state has repealed the death penalty in 40 years. In addition, LB286 has gained national media attention. I intend to fight hard to retain the death penalty.
Additionally, on Wednesday, the Governor returned the state budget to the Legislature with his signature and without any line-item veto actions. This means the Legislature’s only constitutional duty is completed. While we could technically adjourn the session, we remain to work on other legislation.
In light of the tragic news of fallen Omaha police officer, Kerrie Orozco, I wanted to offer my sincere, heartfelt condolences to her family and all those who grieve, especially her fellow law enforcement officers. Her community service is a shining example for us all. I pray for her family, especially her newborn baby girl, Olivia, who will never fully experience her mother’s physical presence though her legacy will certainly live on. A special thank you to all law enforcement for your endless sacrifices and to all those who support our men and women in blue.
As well, Memorial Day offers us the opportunity to remember the sacrifice of another group of valiant warriors for our liberty and freedom. A prayer of thanksgiving for all those who died honorably in military service to our country. Memorial Day provides the stark reminder that freedom is not without cost, but is a gift given to us by those who sacrifice their very lives.
Finally, a special thank you to Pastor Rebecca Hjelle, First United Methodist Church, of Blair, who served as Chaplain of the Day for the Legislature on May 18. We were blessed by her beautiful prayer and offering God’s blessing over our work and for the people of our great State.
As always, please contact me, administrative aide, Katie Wattermann, or legislative aide, Tom Venzor, with questions or thoughts at (402) 471-2728 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keeping the Good Life Growing in Nebraska,
Senator Lydia Brasch, District 16