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Lawmakers override governor veto, allowing sales tax to pay 'Beatrice Six'

Posted at 4:33 PM, Apr 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-30 17:33:00-04

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska lawmakers have cleared the way for a rural county to impose a half-cent sales tax to pay a $28.1 million legal debt to six people wrongfully convicted of murder.

Senators voted 41-8 on Tuesday to override the veto of Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts, who opposed the measure because it would allow the tax without approval from voters. Thirty votes were required for the override.

The new law will allow Gage County's board of supervisors to impose the tax to pay the federal judgment awarded to the so-called Beatrice Six. The six were imprisoned for a 1985 murder in Beatrice but were exonerated by DNA evidence in 2008. The county wasn't properly insured at the time.

County supervisors have already raised their property tax as high as state law allows.