Hyundai Nebraska, NE. Information Page
Nebraska is a Great Plains state of the United States. Nebraska gets its name from a Native American (Oto) word meaning "flat water", after the Platte River that flows through the state. Once considered part of the Great American Desert, it is now a leading farming state. Nebraskans have practiced scientific farming to turn the Nebraska prairie into a land of ranches and farms. Much of the history of the state is the story of the impact of the Nebraska farmer.
The Kansas-Nebraska Act became law on May 30, 1854; it established the U.S. territories of Nebraska and Kansas. The territorial capital of Nebraska was Omaha.
In the 1860s, the first great wave of homesteaders poured into Nebraska to claim free land granted by the federal government. Many of the first farm settlers built their homes out of sod because they found so few trees on the grassy land.
Nebraska became the 37th state in 1867, shortly after the Civil War. At that time, the capital was moved from Omaha to Lancaster, later renamed Lincoln after the recently assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.
Arbor Day began in Nebraska, and the National Arbor Day Foundation is still headquartered in Nebraska City.
Prohibition in the U.S. was adopted in 1918, with Nebraska as the thirty-sixth state necessary to make the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution .
Nebraska, in common with five other Midwest states (Kansas, Oklahoma, North and South Dakota, and Iowa), has experienced a decades-long population decline in rural areas. Eighty-nine percent of the cities in those states have fewer than 3000 people; hundreds have fewer than 1000. Between 1996 and 2004, almost half a million people, nearly half with college degrees, left the six states. "Rural flight", as it is called, has led to offers of free land and tax breaks as enticements to newcomers. As an example in Nebraska, Monowi, which in the 1930s had a population of 150, now has a population of one (as of 2005).
Nebraska is the only state in the United States with a unicameral legislature; that is, a legislature with only one house. Although this house is known simply as the "Legislature", its members still call themselves "senators". Nebraska's Legislature is also the only one 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 (and often are) 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.
For years, United States Senator George Norris and other Nebraskans encouraged the unicameral referendum. Norris argued:
…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.
Unicameral supporters also argued that a bicameral legislature had a significant undemocratic feature in the committees that reconciled Assembly 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.
Finally, in 1934, due in part to the budgetary pressure of the Great Depression, Nebraska's unicameral legislature was put in place by a state initiative. In effect, the Assembly (the house) was abolished; as noted, today's Nebraska state legislators are commonly referred to as "Senators."
Since 1991, two of Nebraska's five electoral votes are awarded based on the winner of the statewide election; the other three go to the highest vote-getter in each of the state's three congressional districts. For the last ten elections, Republicans have won all of Nebraska's electoral votes, and no Democrat has carried the state since Lyndon Johnson. In the 2004 presidential election, George W. Bush won the state's five electoral votes by the overwhelming margin of 33 percentage points (the fourth most Republican vote among states) with 65.9% of the vote; only Thurston County voted for John Kerry.
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, J. James Exon, and Bob Kerrey. This tradition is illustrated by Nebraska's current United States senators: Republican Senator Chuck Hagel is a maverick within his party, while Democratic Senator Ben Nelson is the most conservative member of his party in the Senate.
The Nebraska legislature is housed in the third Nebraska State Capitol building, which was built between 1922 and 1932.