The governor is headed for a showdown with state lawmakers over felon voting rights. Gov. Pete Ricketts vetoed a measure Thursday that restores the voting rights of felons immediately after they complete their sentences. He maintained that the Legislature violated the Nebraska Constitution by assuming the power to pardon that properly belongs to the executive branch of government. “Any effort to restore a civil right revoked in the Nebraska Constitution requires changing the Nebraska Constitution,” the governor said in a message announcing his first veto of the session.
State Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha, the sponsor of Legislative Bill 75, said he would file a motion to override the veto. An override requires votes from at least 30 of the 49 senators.
Wayne has some work cut out for him. On Monday the bill passed on a 27-13 vote with seven senators abstaining and two with excused absences.
Current law requires felons to wait for two years after finishing their sentences before they can resume voting. That law was enacted in 2005 over the veto of then-Gov. Dave Heineman.