In his first comments since Nebraskans for the Death Penalty submitted 166,692 petition signatures a week ago, Gov. Pete Ricketts said Tuesday that state officials are continuing efforts to import lethal injection drugs for executions, reports the Omaha World-Herald. But he said they will not pursue attempts to execute anyone while signatures are being verified on a petition to keep capital punishment on the books. The petition seeks to undo legislative action repealing Nebraska's death penalty. The repeal was passed in May over Ricketts' veto.
The petition needs valid signatures from 5 percent of the state's registered voters, or 56,942 people, to put the issue before voters in November 2016. It needs valid signatures from 10 percent of voters, or 113,883 people, to suspend the law. “I think it's appropriate that the people of Nebraska get to vote on this very important issue,” Ricketts said. He said the legislature “was completely out of touch with what the vast majority of Nebraskans think.” It could take more than a month to check the signatures.