Death penalty repeal officially on hold until 2016 election

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska’s death penalty will stay on the books until voters decide next year whether to keep it.

Secretary of State John Gale announced Friday that death penalty supporters have gathered enough valid signatures to prevent a law repealing capital punishment from going into effect until the November 2016 election.

Nebraska lawmakers abolished the death penalty in May, prompting a petition drive for a ballot measure to overturn their decision. The issue had already qualified for the ballot, but Friday’s announcement confirms that the petition drive succeeded in postponing the repeal.

A Nebraskans for the Death Penalty spokesman says his group will now begin a “Repeal the Repeal” campaign urging voters to keep capital punishment.

A spokesman for the anti-death penalty Nebraskans for Public Safety says punishment wastes tax dollars.

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