The holiday weekend shootings in Highland Park, Illinois, and in Philadelphia, as well as in other cities nationwide, spotlight the need to focus on mental healthcare, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said on Newsmax Tuesday.
"A lot of the research has already shown that when you look at these mass shootings, most of the people who have done this have untreated mental health [issues] and that in some ways, these are a violent suicide," the Republican governor said on Newsmax's "National Report." "So one of the things that we have to do is to continue investing in our mental healthcare."
Ricketts said Nebraska is dedicating tens of millions of dollars to expand facilities to hire more behavioral health specialists.
"It's definitely something that we have to focus on as a country," said Ricketts.
The governor also discussed his state's reaction to the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade and said that even though the Nebraska Legislature would not back a trigger law to automatically outlaw abortion, there is support for regulating procedures further.
"Nebraska's a pro-life state and with the great decision out of the Supreme Court in the Dobbs case, we will now have the ability to regulate abortion in our state," he said. "I'm working with our speaker, the Legislature, to see what we can do to further protect preborn babies here in our state.
"That may include a special session later this summer, so I'm working with our Legislature to see what sorts of other protections we can put in place for these babies."
Nebraska was the first state to pass the 20-week ban in 2011, which became the model for the rest of the country, said Ricketts.
"We did attempt to put a trigger bill in place earlier this year in our Legislature," he said. "That fell two votes short, so we know that particular bill will not be able to pass. We're working on it again, the other sorts of opportunities we have to protect those pre-born babies."
However, he said he does not think the Legislature will pass a heartbeat bill, as it would not pass the trigger bill that would have effectively served as a ban on abortion when the court overturned Roe.
He also spoke out against protesters who this weekend called for protections for women's rights to freedom of speech in connection with abortion.
"I think the only thing we have to remember is all the little girls who don't have their voices heard," said Ricketts. "How do we protect those little girls who don't have the ability to be able to speak out? You know our country is great because we have our First Amendment rights to free speech and can protest. That is one of the things that makes this country special."
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