Yesterday, Nebraska's legislature abolished the state's use of capital punishment, voting 30–19 to override Republican governor Pete Ricketts's veto of a bill that had repealed the state's death penalty law. As the New York Times reports, it is the first time in 40 years that a conservative state has banned the death penalty, and Nebraska now becomes the 19th state, along with the District of Columbia, to forbid capital punishment. The last conservative state to do so was North Dakota in 1973, though six blue states have banned the practice since 2006.
Prior to the vote, Nebraska had 11 inmates on death row but had been unable to execute anyone for 17 years. Indeed, even if they had not repealed the practice, the state, which relied on the procedure of lethal injection after banning the electric chair in 2009, would have had the same difficulty that most other death penalty states currently have: a decisive shortage of lethal injection drugs, after European manufacturers decided it was no longer ethical to sell state governments the components they need to make their lethal injection cocktails. According to the Times, even Texas, which leads the nation in executions by a considerable margin, only has enough drugs to execute one more prisoner.