Gov. Pete Ricketts flexed some political muscle Monday, easily winning a veto showdown over legislation that would have expanded felon voting rights in Nebraska. Legislators voted 23-23 on a motion to override Ricketts’ veto of Legislative Bill 75, which sought to eliminate the two years felons must wait to vote after completing their prison sentences. Overturning a veto requires the support of at least 30 of 49 senators in the single-house Legislature. The outcome provided a victory to the governor in a high-profile override attempt. In the previous two years senators have overridden his vetoes on measures related to the death penalty, the gas tax and two bills granting privileges to immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.
Some of the senators who voted to override those Ricketts vetoes have since lost re-election bids to candidates receiving campaign donations from the governor.
State Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha expressed dismay Monday as earlier support for the measure seemed to evaporate. Wayne urged his colleagues to show political courage and guard the Legislature’s independence, noting that nothing had changed with the bill except for the governor’s veto.