Nebraska is governed under a constitution that was adopted in 1875. It has been amended many times. One amendment adopted in 1912 provides for amendments to the constitution through initiative and referendum. The constitution limits the state’s power of taxation and forbids the state to incur bonded indebtedness, except for the purpose of highway construction.
The executive branch is headed by a governor and a lieutenant governor, who are jointly elected for four-year terms. Both officials may serve any number of terms, but no more than two terms in succession. Other elected officers are the secretary of state, the attorney general, the treasurer, the auditor, and the members of the board of education, the board of regents of the University of Nebraska, and the public utilities commission.
By an amendment adopted in 1934, Nebraska became the first and only state with a unicameral, or one-chamber, legislature. The single house has 49 members. They are elected without designation of political party for four-year terms. Legislators may not serve more than two terms in succession. Regular sessions are held in January of each year, and special sessions may be called by the governor or at the request of two-thirds of the members of the legislature. A three-fifths majority can override the governor’s veto.
The judicial branch consists of a supreme court, with seven justices who serve six-year terms, and district courts, with judges serving six-year terms.
The 93 county courts function as parts of the district court system. Omaha and Lincoln each have a municipal court and separate juvenile courts.
Nebraska has adopted a nonpartisan system for the election of all judges. Whenever a vacancy occurs on the supreme court, district court, or some of the juvenile and municipal courts, a nonpartisan nominating commission submits a list to the governor, who makes an appointment from the list. At the first general election taking place three years after the appointment, the judge stands unopposed for election on the basis of the record. If the voters do not approve the judge, the vacancy is filled again by the governor. If elected, the judge may seek reelection.
The state has 93 counties. The most populous counties have an assessor, a clerk of the district court, and a register of deeds. All the counties have a clerk, a sheriff, a treasurer, an attorney, a surveyor, and a superintendent of schools. These officials are elected to four-year terms.
Other units of local government are cities, villages, and townships. Any city with a population of 5,000 or more may adopt a home-rule charter. Most of the cities, including Omaha and Lincoln, are governed by a mayor and council. Some cities use the city manager plan, and one is governed by commission. Each of the villages is administered by a board of trustees, elected by popular vote for two-year terms. "Nebraska" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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