Increased transparency for death penalty process amended, advanced

Lawmakers gave second-round approval Aug. 11 to a bill that seeks to increase transparency in the state’s execution protocol.

Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks
Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks

LB238, as originally introduced by Lincoln Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks, would require that two members of the Legislature—selected by the Legislature’s Executive Board—be present to view all executions carried out under the state’s death penalty.

The bill also would require the state Department of Correctional Services to allow all execution witnesses to view the process continually from the moment the inmate enters the execution chamber until the moment he or she is pronounced dead, without any impediment to their line of sight.

Additionally, LB238 would allow any person performing an execution to wear a mask or otherwise conceal their personal identity.

Pansing Brooks offered an amendment on select file to remove the requirement that two members of the Legislature be present at each execution. The provision originally was included to provide accountability, she said, but a number of senators expressed an unwillingness to serve as witnesses.

Following the 36-0 adoption of the amendment, senators advanced LB238 to final reading by voice vote.

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