MSNBC’s Amanda Sakuma has been following Nebraska’s conservative effort to repeal the death penalty, and this evening she published an article describing why Nebraska is ripe for repeal. She said
The Nebraska legislature is expected to take up the issue as early as Wednesday, setting the stage for the “uni-cam” to vote on overriding Ricketts’ veto. Lawmakers need to muster 30 votes to strike the death penalty from the books in Nebraska. And judging by the legislature’s 32-15 vote last week on the repeal bill, supporters have the numbers on their side – with a few to spare.
The strong push to repeal the death penalty in the heart of the Deep South marks a growing change in the debate, as policy makers, advocates and religious leaders have sought to recast concerns with capital punishment as violating core tenets of conservatism. While the majority of Americans say that they favor the death penalty, Republicans’ support has dropped 9% in the last decade. For many, the death penalty symbolizes the antithesis of a conservative emphasis on small-government, religious values and minimal spending.
I spoke with Sakuma earlier today, and we discussed what conservatives expect in public policy. She wrote,
“Conservatives believe that policies should be pro-life, fiscally responsible and about limited government – the death penalty is inconsistent with all of those,” said Marc Hyden, advocacy coordinator for the national group Conservatives Concerned about the Death Penalty.
Additionally, she said,
Nebraska state Sen. Colby Coash said there was a push from conservatives in the legislature to change the narrative around the death penalty as a cost-benefit analysis.
“We’re lying to our constituency when we say that it’s an effective tool when it’s one that hasn’t been used in 20 years,” Coash said. “It’s been expensive, hasn’t been used, it won’t be used and doesn’t need to be in the statute.”