Gov. Pete Ricketts announced today that he won’t sign a bill that allows Nebraska felons to vote in elections after completing their sentences. The Legislature voted 27-13 Monday to pass the bill, which ends the two-year waiting period for felons before they can exercise their right to vote. Ricketts declined to say whether he will veto the bill, which would require a vote of 30 senators to override. If the governor simply does not sign the legislation, it will become law after five days.
“Frankly I think waiting two years to demonstrate that you can be a productive member of society, that you can keep your nose clean, is not too much to ask of convicted felons,” Ricketts said Tuesday. “So I don’t have any intention of signing that bill.”
Legislative Bill 75 is the priority measure of State Sen. Justin Wayne of Omaha. After hearing about the governor’s statement, Wayne said he’s hopeful Ricketts will allow the bill to become law.
Wayne said if necessary, he’ll work to secure the votes to overturn a veto. “If we have to go to an override, I believe this body won’t want to walk into the dark shadows of the past,” he said.