|State of Nebraska|
|Nickname(s): Cornhusker State|
|Motto(s): Equality before the law|
|Largest metro||Omaha-Council Bluffs|
77,354 sq mi
|• Width||210 miles (340 km)|
|• Length||430 miles (690 km)|
|• % water||0.7|
|• Latitude||40° N to 43° N|
|• Longitude||95° 19' W to 104° 03' W|
|• Total||1,881,503 (2014 est)|
24.0/sq mi (9.25/km2)
|• Median household income||$44,623 (20th)|
|• Highest point||
5,424 ft (1654 m)
|• Mean||2,600 ft (790 m)|
|• Lowest point||
Missouri River at Kansas border
840 ft (256 m)
|Before statehood||Nebraska Territory|
|Admission to Union||March 1, 1867 (37th)|
|Governor||Pete Ricketts (R)|
|Lieutenant Governor||Mike Foley (R)|
|• Upper house||None (unicameral)|
|• Lower house||None (unicameral)|
Deb Fischer (R)
Ben Sasse (R)
|U.S. House delegation||
Jeff Fortenberry (R)
Brad Ashford (D)
Adrian Smith (R) (list)
|• most of state||Central: UTC −6/−5|
|• panhandle||Mountain: UTC −7/−6|
|Abbreviations||NE, List of U.S. state abbreviations|
Nebraska is a state that lies in both the Great Plains and the Midwestern United States. Its state capital is Lincoln. Its largest city is Omaha, which is on the Missouri River. The state is crossed by many historic trails, and was explored by the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The California Gold Rush brought the first large numbers of non-indigenous settlers to the area. Nebraska was admitted as the 37th state of the United States in 1867. The climate has wide variations between winter and summer temperatures, and violent thunderstorms and tornadoes are common. The state is characterized by treeless prairie, which is ideal for cattle-grazing. It is a major producer of beef, as well as pork, corn, and soybeans. The largest ancestry group claimed by Nebraskans is German American. The state also has the largest per capita population of Czech Americans among U.S. states.
- Etymology 1
- History 2
- Federal land management 3.1
- Climate 3.2
- Race and ethnicity 4.1
- Rural flight 4.2
- Religion 4.3
- Important cities and towns 4.4
- Largest cities 4.5
- Urban areas 4.6
- Taxation 5
- Industry 6.1
- Railroads 7.1
- Roads and highways 7.2
Law and government 8
- Executive branch 8.1
- Legislative branch 8.2
- Judicial branch 8.3
- Federal government representation 8.4
- Politics 8.5
- Colleges and universities 9.1
- Professional sports 10.1
- Junior-level sports 10.2
College sports 10.3
- NCAA Division I sports 10.3.1
- NCAA Division II sports 10.3.2
- NAIA sports 10.3.3
- See also 11
- References 12
- Surveys 13.1
- Scholarly special studies 13.2
- External links 14
Nebraska's name is derived from transliteration of the archaic Otoe words Ñí Brásge, pronounced (contemporary Otoe Ñí Bráhge), or the Omaha Ní Btháska, pronounced , meaning "flat water", after the Platte River that flows through the state.
Indigenous peoples lived in the region of present-day Nebraska for thousands of years before European exploration. The historic tribes in the state included the Omaha, Missouria, Ponca, Pawnee, Otoe, and various branches of the Lakota (Sioux), some of which migrated from eastern areas into this region. When European exploration, trade, and settlement began, both Spain and France sought to control the region. In the 1690s, Spain established trade connections with the Apaches, whose territory then included western Nebraska. By 1703, France had developed a regular trade with the native peoples along the Missouri River in Nebraska, and by 1719 had signed treaties with several of these peoples. After war broke out between the two countries, Spain dispatched an armed expedition to Nebraska under Lieutenant General Pedro de Villasur in 1720. The party was attacked and destroyed near present-day Columbus by a large force of Pawnees and Otoes, both allied to the French. The massacre of the Villasur expedition effectively put an end to Spanish exploration of Nebraska for the remainder of the 18th century.
In 1762, during the Seven Years' War, France ceded the Louisiana territory to Spain. France's withdrawal from the area left Britain and Spain competing for dominance along the Mississippi; by 1773, the British were trading with the native peoples of Nebraska. In response to this, Spain dispatched two trading expeditions up the Missouri in 1794 and 1795; the second of these, under James Mackay, established the first European settlement in Nebraska near the mouth of the Platte. Later that year, Mackay's party built a trading post, dubbed Fort Carlos IV (Fort Charles), near present-day Homer. In 1819, the United States established Fort Atkinson as the first US Army post west of the Missouri River, just east of present-day Fort Calhoun. The army abandoned the fort in 1827 as migration moved further west. European-American settlement did not begin in any numbers until after 1848 and the California Gold Rush. On May 30, 1854, the US Congress created the Kansas and the Nebraska territories, divided by the Parallel 40° North, under the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The Nebraska Territory included parts of the current states of Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana. The territorial capital of Nebraska was Omaha. In the 1860s, after the US government forced many of the Native American tribes to cede their lands and settle on reservations, it opened large tracts of land to agricultural development by Europeans and Americans. Under the Homestead Act, thousands of new settlers migrated into Nebraska to claim free land granted by the federal government. Because so few trees grew on the prairies, many of the first farming settlers built their homes of sod, as had the Native Americans such as the Omaha. The first wave of settlement gave the territory a sufficient population to apply for statehood. Nebraska became the 37th state on March 1, 1867, and the capital was moved from Omaha to the center at Lancaster, later renamed Lincoln after the recently assassinated President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. The battle of Massacre Canyon on August 5, 1873, was the last major battle between the Pawnee and the Sioux. During the 1870s to the 1880s, Nebraska experienced a large growth in population. Several factors contributed to attracting new residents. The first was that the vast prairie land was perfect for cattle grazing. This helped settlers to learn the unfamiliar geography of the area. The second factor was the invention of several farming technologies. Agricultural inventions such as barbed wire, wind mills, and the steel plow, combined with good weather, enabled settlers to make use of Nebraska as prime farming land. By the 1880s, Nebraska's population had soared to more than 450,000 people. The Arbor Day holiday was founded in Nebraska City by territorial governor J. Sterling Morton. The National Arbor Day Foundation is still headquartered in Nebraska City, with some offices in Lincoln. In the late nineteenth century, many African Americans migrated from the South to Nebraska as part of the Great Migration, primarily to Omaha which offered working class jobs in meatpacking, the railroads and other industries. Omaha has a long history of civil rights activism. Blacks encountered discrimination from other Americans in Omaha and especially from recent European immigrants, ethnic whites who were competing for the same jobs. In 1912 African Americans founded the Omaha chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to work for improved conditions in the city and state. Activism has continued.
Since the 1960s, Native American activism in the state has increased, both through open protest, activities to build alliances with state and local governments, and in the slower, more extensive work of building tribal institutions and infrastructure. Native Americans in federally recognized tribes have pressed for self-determination, sovereignty and recognition. They have created community schools to preserve their cultures, as well as tribal colleges and universities. Tribal politicians have also collaborated with state and county officials on regional issues.
The state is bordered by South Dakota to the north; Iowa to the east and Missouri to the southeast, across the Missouri River; Kansas to the south; Colorado to the southwest; and Wyoming to the west. The state has 93 counties; it occupies the central portion of the Frontier Strip. Nebraska is split into two time zones, with the eastern half of the state observing Central Time and the western half observing Mountain Time. Three rivers cross the state from west to east. The Platte River, formed by the confluence of the North Platte and the South Platte, runs through the central portion of the state, the Niobrara River flows through the northern part, and the Republican River runs across the southern part. Nebraska is composed of two major land regions: the Dissected Till Plains and the Great Plains. The easternmost portion of the state was scoured by Ice Age glaciers; the Dissected Till Plains were left behind after the glaciers retreated. The Dissected Till Plains is a region of gently rolling hills; Omaha and Lincoln are in this region. The Great Plains occupy the majority of western Nebraska. The Great Plains region consists of several smaller, diverse land regions, including the Sandhills, the Pine Ridge, the Rainwater Basin, the High Plains and the Wildcat Hills. Panorama Point, at 5,424 feet (1,653 m), is the highest point in Nebraska; despite its name and elevation, it is a relatively low rise near the Colorado and Wyoming borders. A past Nebraska tourism slogan was "Where the West Begins"; locations given for the beginning of the "West" include the Missouri River, the intersection of 13th and O Streets in Lincoln (where it is marked by a red brick star), the 100th meridian, and Chimney Rock.
Federal land management
Areas under the management of the National Park Service include:
- Agate Fossil Beds National Monument near Harrison
- California National Historic Trail
- Chimney Rock National Historic Site near Bayard
- Homestead National Monument of America in Beatrice
- Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail
- Missouri National Recreational River near Ponca
- Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail
- Niobrara National Scenic River near Valentine
- Oregon National Historic Trail
- Pony Express National Historic Trail
- Scotts Bluff National Monument at Gering
Areas under the management of the National Forest Service include:
Two major climatic zones are represented in Nebraska: the eastern half of the state has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa), and the western half, a semi-arid climate (Koppen BSk). The entire state experiences wide seasonal variations in temperature and precipitation. Average temperatures are fairly uniform across Nebraska, with hot summers and generally cold winters.
Average annual precipitation decreases east to west from about 31.5 inches (800 mm) in the southeast corner of the state to about 13.8 inches (350 mm) in the Panhandle. Humidity also decreases significantly from east to west. Snowfall across the state is fairly even, with most of Nebraska receiving between 25 and 35 inches (65 and 90 cm) of snow annually. Nebraska's highest recorded temperature is 118 °F (48 °C) at Minden on July 24, 1936 and the lowest recorded temperature is −47 °F (−44 °C) at Camp Clarke on February 12, 1899.
Nebraska is in Tornado Alley; thunderstorms are common in the spring and summer months, and violent thunderstorms and tornadoes happen primarily during the spring and summer, though they can also occur in the autumn. The chinook winds from the Rocky Mountains provide a temporary moderating effect on temperatures in western Nebraska during the winter months.
The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Nebraska was 1,881,503 on July 1, 2014, a 3.02% increase since the 2010 United States Census. The center of population of Nebraska is in Polk County, in the city of Shelby.
Race and ethnicity
According to the 2010 Census, 86.1% of the population was White (82.1% non-Hispanic white), 4.5% was Black or African American, 1.0% American Indian and Alaska Native, 1.8% Asian, 0.1% Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, 2.2% from two or more races. 9.2% of the total population was of Hispanic or Latino origin (they may be of any race).
As of 2004, the population of Nebraska included about 84,000 foreign-born residents (4.8% of the population).
Native Hawaiian and
other Pacific Islander
|Two or more races||-||1.4%||2.2%|
Nebraska has the largest Czech American and non-Mormon Danish American population (as a percentage of the total population) in the nation. German Americans are the largest ancestry group in most of the state, particularly in the eastern counties. Thurston County (made up entirely of the Omaha and Winnebago reservations) has an American Indian majority, and Butler County is one of only two counties in the nation with a Czech-American plurality.
As of 2011, 31.0% of Nebraska's population younger than age 1 were minorities.
Eighty-nine percent of the cities in Nebraska have fewer than 3,000 people. Nebraska shares this characteristic with five other Midwestern states: Kansas, Oklahoma, North and South Dakota, and Iowa. Hundreds of towns have a population of fewer than 1,000. Regional population declines have forced many rural schools to consolidate.
More urbanized areas of the state have experienced substantial growth. In 2000, the city of Omaha had a population of 390,007; in 2005, the city's estimated population was 414,521 (427,872 including the recently annexed city of Elkhorn), a 6.3% increase over five years. The 2010 census showed that Omaha has a population of 408,958. The city of Lincoln had a 2000 population of 225,581 and a 2010 population of 258,379, a 14.5% increase.
The religious affiliations of the people of Nebraska are:
- Christian – 90%
- Non-religious – 9%
- Other religions – 1%
The largest single denominations by number of adherents in 2010 were the Roman Catholic Church (372,838), the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (112,585), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (110,110) and the United Methodist Church (109,283).
Important cities and towns
As of the 2010 Census, there were 530 cities and villages in the state of Nebraska. There are five classifications of cities and villages in Nebraska, which is based upon population. All population figures are 2013 Census Bureau estimates.
Metropolitan Class City (300,000 or more)
- Omaha – 434,353
Primary Class City (100,000 – 299,999)
- Lincoln – 268,738
First Class City (5,000 – 99,999)
- Bellevue – 53,663
- Grand Island – 50,550
- Kearney – 32,174
- Fremont – 26,340
- Hastings – 25,093
- North Platte – 24,534
- Norfolk – 24,523
- Columbus – 22,533
- Papillion – 21,921
- La Vista – 17,562
- Scottsbluff – 15,023
- South Sioux City – 13,424
- Beatrice – 12,157
- Lexington – 10,204
- Alliance – 8,498
- Gering – 8,480
- Blair – 7,990
- York – 7,961
- McCook – 7,697
- Nebraska City – 7,255
- Ralston – 7,220
- Crete – 7,135
- Seward – 7,120
- Sidney – 6,829
- Plattsmouth – 6,467
- Schuyler – 6,143
- Chadron – 5,787
- Gretna – 5,584
- Wayne – 5,543
- Holdrege – 5,527
Second Class Cities (800 – 4,999) and Villages (100–800) make up the rest of the communities in Nebraska. There are 116 second class cities and 382 villages in the state.
Metropolitan areas - 2012 estimate data
Micropolitan areas - 2012 estimate data
- Grand Island, Hastings and Kearney comprise the "Tri-Cities" area, with a combined population of 168,748
- The northeast corner of Nebraska is part of the Siouxland region.
Nebraska has a progressive income tax. The portion of income from $0 to $2,400 is taxed at 2.56%; from $2,400 to $17,500, at 3.57%; from $17,500 to $27,000, at 5.12%; and income over $27,000, at 6.84%. The standard deduction for a single taxpayer is $5,700; the personal exemption is $118.
Nebraska has a state sales and use tax of 5.5%. In addition to the state tax, some Nebraska cities assess a city sales and use tax, in 0.5% increments, up to a maximum of 1.5%. One county in Nebraska, Dakota County, levies an additional 0.5% county sales tax. Food and ingredients that are generally for home preparation and consumption are not taxable. All real property within the state of Nebraska is taxable unless specifically exempted by statute. Since 1992, only depreciable personal property is subject to tax and all other personal property is exempt from tax. Inheritance tax is collected at the county level.
List of U.S. states by date of statehood
Admitted on March 1, 1867 (37th)
- Nebraska state government
- Nebraska Division of Travel and Tourism
- Energy Profile for Nebraska
- USGS real-time, geographic, and other scientific resources of Nebraska
- Nebraska State Facts from USDA
- Nebraska Frequently Asked Questions
- Nebraska State Publications Online
- Nebraska city-data
- Nebraska at DMOZ
- nebraskastudies.org – History of Nebraska from Nebraska Department of Education, Nebraska State Historical Society, and NET
- Nebraska State Databases – Annotated list of searchable databases produced by Nebraska state agencies and compiled by the Government Documents Roundtable of the American Library Association.
- Geographic data related to Nebraska at OpenStreetMap
- Barnhart, John D. "Rainfall and the Populist Party in Nebraska." American Political Science Review 19 (1925): 527–40. in JSTOR
- Beezley, William H. "Homesteading in Nebraska, 1862–1872", Nebraska History 53 (spring 1972): 59–75
- Bentley, Arthur F. "The Condition of the Western Farmer as Illustrated by the Economic History of a Nebraska Township." Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science 11 (1893): 285–370
- (1981)Populism, Progressivism, and the Transformation of Nebraska Politics, 1885–1915Cherny, Robert W.
- Bogue Allen G. Money at Interest: The Farm Mortgage on the Middle Border (1955)
- Brunner, Edmund de S. Immigrant Farmers and Their Children (1929)
Chudacoff, Howard P. Mobile Americans: Residential and Social Mobility in Omaha, 1880–1920 (1972)
- Chudacoff, Howard P. "A New Look at Ethnic Neighborhoods: Residential Dispersion and the Concept of Visibility in a Medium-sized City." Journal of American History 60 (1973): 76–93. about Omaha; in JSTOR
- .William Jennings BryanColetta, Paolo E. 3 vols. (1964–69)
- Dick, Everett. The Sod-House Frontier: 1854–1890 (1937)
- Farragher, John Mack. Women and Men on the Overland Trail (1979)
- Fuller, Wayne E. The Old Country School: The Story of Rural Education in the Midwest (1982)
- Grant, Michael Johnston. "Down and Out on the Family Farm" (2002)
- Harper, Ivy. Walzing Matilda: Life and Times of Nebraska Senator Robert Kerrey (1992)
- Holter, Don W. Flames on the Plains: A History of United Methodism in Nebraska (1983)
- Jeffrey, Julie Roy. Frontier Women: The Trans-Mississippi West, 1840–1880 (1979)
- Klein, Maury. Union Pacific: The Birth of a Railroad, 1862–1893 (1986)
- Larsen, Lawrence H. The Gate City: A History of Omaha (1982)
- Lowitt, Richard. George W. Norris 3 vols. (1971)
- Luebke, Frederick C. Immigrants and Politics: The Germans of Nebraska, 1880–1900 (1969)
- Luebke, Frederick C. "The German-American Alliance in Nebraska, 1910–1917." Nebraska History 49 (1969): 165–85
- Olson, James C. J. Sterling Morton (1942)
- Overton, Richard C. Burlington West: A Colonization History of the Burlington Railroad (1941)
- Parsons Stanley B. "Who Were the Nebraska Populists?" Nebraska History 44 (1963): 83–99
- Pierce, Neal. The Great Plains States (1973)
- Pederson, James F., and Kenneth D. Wald. Shall the People Rule? A History of the Democratic Party in Nebraska Politics (1972)
- Riley, Glenda. The Female Frontier. A Comparative View of Women on the Prairie and the Plains (1978)
- Wenger, Robert W. "The Anti-Saloon League in Nebraska Politics, 1898–1910." Nebraska History 52 (1971): 267–92
Scholarly special studies
- Chokecherry Places, Essays from the High Plains, Merrill Gilfillan, Johnson Press, Boulder, Colorado, trade paperback, ISBN 1-55566-227-7.
- Olson James C. and Ronald C. Naugle, History of Nebraska 2nd ed (1997)
- Andreas, Alfred T., History of the State of Nebraska (1882) (a highly detailed history)
- Creigh, Dorothy Weyers. Nebraska: A Bicentennial History (1977)
- Faulkner, Virginia, ed. Roundup: A Nebraska Reader (1957)
- Hickey, Donald R. Nebraska Moments: Glimpses of Nebraska's Past (1992).
- Miewald, Robert D., Nebraska Government & Politics (1984)
- Luebke Frederick C. Nebraska: An Illustrated History (1995)
- Morton, J. Sterling, ed. Illustrated History of Nebraska: A History of Nebraska from the Earliest Explorations of the Trans-Mississippi Region. 3 vols. (1905–13)
- Wishart, David J. ed. Encyclopedia of the Great Plains, University of Nebraska Press, 2004, ISBN 0-8032-4787-7. complete text online; 900 pages of scholarly articles
- , WPA Guide, 1939; scanned online editionNebraska: A Guide to the Cornhusker State
- Elevation adjusted to North American Vertical Datum of 1988.
- Hanson, James A. "Spain on the Plains". Nebraska History 74 (Spring 1993), pp. 2–21. Retrieved 2015-01-04.
- "Villasur Sent to Nebraska". Nebraskastudies.org. Retrieved 2015-01-04.
- "The Villasur expedition—1720". Nebraska State Historical Society. Retrieved 2015-01-04.
- "Louisiana: European explorations and the Louisiana Purchase". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2015-01-04.
- Wood, W. Raymond. "Fort Charles or 'Mr. Mackey‟s Trading House. Nebraska History 76 (Spring 1995), pp. 2–9. Retrieved 2015-01-04.
- The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper Utah: Everton Publishers, 2002).
- Marsha Hoffman and Dwight A. Radford, "Nebraska," Redbook: American State, County, and Town Sources, 3rd ed. (Provo: Ancestry, 2004), 408.
- The Nebraska Indian Wars reader, 1865-1877 By R. Eli Paul p.88 Publisher: University of Nebraska Press (April 1, 1998) Language: English ISBN 0-8032-8749-6
-  Archived August 9, 2015 at the Wayback Machine
- Historical Census Statistics on Population Totals By Race, 1790 to 1990, and By Hispanic Origin, 1970 to 1990, For The United States, Regions, Divisions, and States
- Population of Nebraska: Census 2010 and 2000 Interactive Map, Demographics, Statistics, Quick Facts
- 2010 Census Data
- "Americans under age 1 now mostly minorities, but not in Ohio: Statistical Snapshot". The Plain Dealer. June 3, 2012.
- "Frequently Asked Questions about Nebraska Sales and Use Tax". Nebraska Department of Revenue. Retrieved August 27, 2012.
- "Frequently Asked Questions about Nebraska Sales and Use Tax".
- Bls.gov; Local Area Unemployment Statistics
- Jirovsky, Kristin. "Owner of Nail Jack Tools wants to share former Vise-Grip plant", Lincoln Journal-Star. January 8, 2009.
- "An Act to aid in the construction of a railroad and telegraph line from the Missouri river to the Pacific ocean, and to secure to the government the use of the same for postal, military, and other purposes 12 Stat. 489, July 1, 1862
- "Nebraska as a State". .Andreas's History of the State of Nebraska. Retrieved February 18, 2010.
|Bellevue University||Bellevue Bruins||Midlands||14||1966|
|College of Saint Mary||Saint Mary Flames||Midlands||0||1923|
|Concordia University||Concordia Bulldogs||Great Plains||1||1894|
|Doane College||Doane Tigers||Great Plains||10||1872|
|Hastings College||Hastings Broncos||Great Plains||3||1882|
|Midland University||Midland Warriors||Great Plains||2||1883|
|Nebraska Wesleyan University||NW Prairie Wolves||Great Plains||19||1887|
|Peru State College||Peru State Bobcats||Midlands||2||1865|
|Southeast Community College||SCC Storm||National Junior College Athletic Association||6||1978|
|York College||York Panthers||Midlands||28||1890|
|University of Nebraska-Kearney||UN-Kearney Lopers||MIAA||1||1905|
|Wayne State College||Wayne State Wildcats||NSIC||2||1910|
|Chadron State College||Chadron State Eagles||RMAC||0||1911|
Nebraska has several colleges playing at the NCAA Division II level.
NCAA Division II sports
|University of Nebraska-Lincoln||Cornhuskers||Big Ten Conference||19||1869|
|University of Nebraska-Omaha||Mavericks||The Summit League||11||1908|
|Creighton University||Bluejays||Big East Conference||0||1878|
NCAA Division I sports
- Nebraska Stampede - Women's Football Alliance
- Lincoln Saltdogs – American Association (independent minor league baseball)
- Nebraska Danger – Indoor Football League
- Omaha Beef – Indoor Football League
- Omaha Storm Chasers – Pacific Coast League (AAA minor league baseball; affiliate of the Kansas City Royals)
- Omaha Vipers – Major Indoor Soccer League (folded)
Colleges and universities
Former President Gerald Ford was born in Nebraska, but moved away shortly after birth. Illinois native William Jennings Bryan represented Nebraska in Congress, served as U.S. Secretary of State under President Woodrow Wilson, and unsuccessfully ran for President three times.
Despite the current Republican domination of Nebraska politics, the state has a long tradition of electing centrist members of both parties to state and federal office; examples include George Norris (who served few years in the Senate as an independent), J. James Exon, and Bob Kerrey. Voters have tilted to the right in recent years with the election of conservative Mike Johanns to the U.S. Senate and the 2006 re-election of Ben Nelson, who was considered the most conservative Democrat in the Senate until his retirement in 2013, when he was replaced by conservative Republican Deb Fischer.
For most of its history, Nebraska has been a solidly Thurston County, which is majority-Native American, voted for his Democratic challenger John Kerry. In 2008, the state split its electoral votes for the first time: Republican John McCain won the popular vote in Nebraska as a whole and two of its three congressional districts; the second district, which includes the city of Omaha, went for Democrat Barack Obama.
Nebraska is one of two states (with Maine) that allow for a split in the state's allocation of electoral votes in presidential elections. Under a 1991 law, two of Nebraska's five votes are awarded to the winner of the statewide popular vote, while the other three go to the highest vote-getter in each of the state's three congressional districts.
Federal government representation
In 2008, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that the state's only method of execution, electrocution, was in conflict with the state's constitution. For the next year, Nebraska had no active death-penalty law. (Prior to that ruling, Nebraska was the only place in the world that used electrocution as the sole method of execution.) In May 2009, the legislature passed and the governor signed a bill that changed the method of execution in Nebraska to lethal injection, enabling capital punishment. Executions in Nebraska have been infrequent; none have been carried out in the 21st century. On May 27, 2015, the Legislature voted 30-19 to abolish the death penalty in Nebraska, overriding Gov. Pete Ricketts' veto.
The judicial system in Nebraska is unified, with the Nebraska Supreme Court having administrative authority over all Nebraska courts. Nebraska uses the Missouri Plan for the selection of judges at all levels. The lowest courts in Nebraska are the county courts, above that are twelve district courts (containing one or more counties). The Court of Appeals hears appeals from the district courts, juvenile courts, and workers' compensation courts. The Nebraska Supreme Court is the final court of appeal.
Judicial branch, Nebraska citizens ran a state initiative to vote on a constitutional amendment creating a unicameral legislature, which was approved. In effect, the House of Representatives (the lower house) was abolished; today's Nebraska state legislators are commonly referred to as "Senators". Great Depression legislature had a significant undemocratic feature in the committees that reconciled House and Senate legislation. Votes in these committees were secretive, and would sometimes add provisions to bills that neither house had approved. Nebraska's unicameral legislature today has rules that bills can contain only one subject, and must be given at least five days of consideration. In 1934, due in part to the budgetary pressure of the bicameralUnicameral supporters also argued that a
The constitutions of our various states are built upon the idea that there is but one class. If this be true, there is no sense or reason in having the same thing done twice, especially if it is to be done by two bodies of men elected in the same way and having the same jurisdiction.
When Nebraska became a state in 1867, its legislature consisted of two houses: a House of Representatives and a Senate. For years, prior to 1934, US Senator referendum. Norris argued:
|Nebraska state symbols|
The Flag of Nebraska
The Seal of Nebraska
|Insect||Western honey bee|
|Motto||Equality before the law|
|State route marker|
Released in 2006
|Lists of United States state symbols|
The Nebraska Legislature meets in the third Nebraska State Capitol building, built between 1922 and 1932. It was designed by Bertram G. Goodhue. Built from Indiana limestone, the Capitol's base is a cross within a square. A 400-foot domed tower rises from this base. The Sower, a 19-foot bronze statue representing agriculture, crowns the Capitol. The state Capitol is considered an architectural achievement and has been recognized by the American Institute of Architects.
Nebraska is the only state in the United States with a unicameral legislature. Although this house is officially known simply as the "Legislature", and more commonly called the "Unicameral", its members call themselves "senators". Nebraska's Legislature is also the only state legislature in the United States that is nonpartisan. The senators are elected with no party affiliation next to their names on the ballot, and the speaker and committee chairs are chosen at large, so that members of any party can be chosen for these positions. The Nebraska Legislature can also override a governor's veto with a three-fifths majority, in contrast to the two-thirds majority required in some other states.
The head of the executive branch is Governor Pete Ricketts. Other elected officials in the executive branch are Lieutenant Governor Mike Foley, Attorney General Doug Peterson, Secretary of State John A. Gale, State Treasurer Don Stenberg, and State Auditor Charlie Janssen. All elected officials in the executive branch serve four-year terms.
Nebraska's government operates under the framework of the Nebraska Constitution, adopted in 1875, and is divided into three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial.
Law and government
Roads and highways
The Union Pacific Railroad, headquartered in Omaha, was incorporated on July 1, 1862, in the wake of the Pacific Railway Act of 1862. Bailey Yard, in North Platte, is the largest railroad classification yard in the world. The route of the original transcontinental railroad runs through the state.
The Spade Ranch, in the Sand Hills, is one of Nebraska's oldest and largest beef cattle operations.
Lincoln's Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing is the only Kawasaki plant in the world to produce the Jet-Ski, ATV, and Mule lines of product. The facility employs more than 1200 people.
The world's largest train yard, Union Pacific's Bailey Yard, is in North Platte. The Vise-Grip was invented by William Petersen in 1924, and was manufactured in De Witt until the plant was closed and moved to China in late 2008.
Omaha is home to Berkshire Hathaway, whose CEO Warren Buffett was ranked in March 2009 by Forbes magazine as the second richest person in the world. The city is also home to ConAgra, Mutual of Omaha, InfoUSA, TD Ameritrade, West Corporation, Valmont Industries, Woodmen of the World, Kiewit Corporation, and the Union Pacific Railroad. UNIFI Companies, Nelnet, Sandhills Publishing Company, and Duncan Aviation are based in Lincoln; The Buckle is based in Kearney. Sidney is the national headquarters for Cabela's, a specialty retailer of outdoor goods.
Kool-Aid was created in 1927 by Edwin Perkins in the city of Hastings, which celebrates the event the second weekend of every August with Kool-Aid Days. Kool-Aid is the official soft drink of Nebraska. CliffsNotes were developed by Clifton Hillegass of Rising City. He adapted his pamphlets from the Canadian publications, Coles Notes.
As of April 2015, the state's unemployment rate was 2.5%, the lowest in the nation.