Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty was founded in 1981 after Governor Thone had vetoed a bill passed by Nebraska’s unicameral legislature that would have repealed the death penalty in Nebraska. Since its founding, it has been a politically active organization that has supported death penalty abolition efforts in the Nebraska legislature.
NADP currently has over 1800 contributing members and a mailing list of over 12,300 individuals who have indicated to NADP that they support death penalty abolition in Nebraska.
NADP provides speakers for educational talks and events, organizes testimony for legislative committee hearings, coordinates member education and involvement, and lobbies the Nebraska Legislature.
Political Climate in Nebraska
In every session of the legislature since the founding of NADP, Sen. Ernie Chambers from Omaha has introduced a bill to abolish the death penalty. While there have been years where the abolition bill has been advanced out of committee, and even one year where it initially had 25 sponsors (out of 49 senators), Nebraska has not yet repealed its death penalty.
In 1998 the Nebraska Legislature prohibited the execution of the mentally retarded. Two men were removed from death row as a direct result of that legislation. In 1999 the Nebraska Legislature was the first in the nation to pass a moratorium on carrying out the death penalty during a study of the fairness of its application. The fact that the moratorium was vetoed by Governor Johanns did not diminish the progress that its passage represents. The legislature unanimously overrode the Governor’s veto of the appropriations bill that funded the recently completed study.