Death penalty supporters, foes argue over $14M cost estimate
Attorney General Doug Peterson is taking new shots at a study that says Nebraska's death penalty costs $14.6 million per year, but the economist who conducted it is standing by his work.
Peterson sought Wednesday to discredit the study, saying it inflated defense and housing costs of death row inmates and the number of court days spent on capital punishment cases.
The Republican attorney general supports the death penalty and criticized the Legislature's decision to abolish it. Voters will decide whether to overturn that decision in November.
"Overstating the number of days to select a jury, overstating the number of days of trials, substantially over stating those numbers," Peterson said of the study.
Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says his study is scientifically valid, based on census data from Nebraska's 93 counties.
Senator Kate Bolz responded to the attorney general later in the day.
"At a specific period of time where we are even asking our administrative agencies to find one percent in their budgets to save this year I think the economic analysis regarding repealing the death penalty is persuasive and significant," she said.
And later Wednesday, the Lincoln Independent Business association held a debate on the death penalty, where both proponents and those who oppose reinstating the practice spoke their mind.
"The drugs needed to carry these out are impossible to get, that the governor has not been able to get it despite his representations to do so, and we have a broken system," Senator Colby Coash said.
Below, you can see which members of the legislature are up for re-election, how they voted last regarding the death penalty, and how they fared in the May primary.