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Office of Governor Pete Ricketts

Gov. Ricketts, Attorney General Peterson, & Mayor Jean Stothert React to Crime, Corrections Proprosals

Today, Governor Pete Ricketts joined Attorney General, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert, and law enforcement leadership at a press conference to offer reaction to proposals in the Legislature that would soften sentencing guidelines for criminals and repeal the death penalty in Nebraska.

On Wednesday, the Legislature advanced legislation that would significantly weaken prosecution of habitual criminals and end mandatory minimum sentences for some criminals including those convicted on account of generation of child pornography, use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony, and distribution of controlled substances in a school zone among others crimes.

On Thursday, the Legislature will debate Senator Ernie Chambers’ plan to repeal the death penalty in Nebraska. Chambers has made repeated unsuccessful attempts to repeal the death penalty for decades.

“As I have said before, I will veto any attempt to repeal the death penalty in Nebraska because its repeal represents a real threat to public safety,” said Governor Pete Ricketts. “Senator Chambers’ plan ends important legal protections that have served law enforcement and the public well. It is a long-held tradition that Nebraskans are the second house in our state’s legislative process. Now is the time for Nebraskans to make your voice heard and to stand in support of Nebraska law enforcement who work hard every day to protect public safety.”

“In addressing Nebraska’s prison overcrowding problem, the Nebraska legislature is attempting to reduce possible penalties on several serious crimes,” said Attorney General Doug Peterson. “Going soft on crime is the wrong response and not consistent with the Council of State Government recommendations. The Legislature cannot compromise safety under the guise of corrections reform.”

"These senators are not taking our gang problem seriously. Their votes to support LB173 show more concern for the criminal than the victim,” said Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert. “The bill is counter-productive to our police department’s ambitious and ongoing efforts to reduce violent crime. The citizens of Omaha and the police officers who protect them must not feel their Legislature is turning a blind eye.”

The following individuals joined the Governor, Attorney General, and Mayor at the press conference:

  • Don Kleine, Nebraska County Attorneys Association

  • Brian Petersen, State Troopers Association of Nebraska

  • John Francavilla, Fraternal Order of Police

  • Dennis Sexton, Omaha Police Officers Association

  • Chief Todd Schmaderer, Omaha Police Department

  • Lee Polikov, Sarpy County Attorney

  • Joe Kelly, Lancaster County Attorney

  • Tim Dunning, Douglas County Sheriff

  • Jeff Davis, Sarpy County Sheriff