On January 3, 2018, the Nebraska Legislature will convene again. Here is a rundown of what you need to know about how Nebraska’s unique nonpartisan system works.

Nonpartisan Unicameral

Nebraska is the only state with a Unicameral, or a one house legislative system. Nebraska doesn’t have a House of Representative or a Senate – just one Legislature and one set of representatives. The state is divided into 49 districts.

legislature-district-map

Nebraska’s Unicameral is also “nonpartisan.” When you go to the ballot box to vote for your state senator, there is no (R) or (D) behind their name to indicate whether they are Republican or Democrat.

Each district has approximately 36,000 residents. Interested in finding out who your senator is? Find out here.

Long Session vs. Short Session

Per the Nebraska’s State Constitution, the Nebraska legislature has a two year cycle which includes a “long session” and a “short session.” 2018 is the second year in the two year cycle and is therefore a short session.legislature-in-motion

Long Sessions

  • 90 Working Days
  • Begins the first week of January and concludes the first week of June
  • Takes place during odd numbered years

Short Sessions

  • 60 Working Days
  • Begins the first week of January and concludes mid-April
  • Takes place during even-numbered years.

Term Limits and New Senators

Senator Mark Kolterman providing comments on the floor of the Unicameral during the 2016 Legislative Session.

Senator Mark Kolterman providing comments on the floor of the Unicameral during the 2016 Legislative Session.

A Constitutional Amendment passed in 2000 limits senators to two consecutive four-year terms. Approximately half of Nebraska’s senators are up for election every 2 years. In 2017,  the Unicameral welcomed 17 new senators.

Salaries

nebraska-legislature

There is little to no financial incentive to run for the Legislature in Nebraska. The State Constitution sets the current salaries of the senators, which is $1000 each month or $12,000 per year. Legislators receive no benefits such as health insurance, other than his or her salary and living expenses during session.

The last time voters approved an increase in Legislators’ salaries was 1988; prior to that, salaries were $400 a month or $4800 per year.

Karen Bowling

Karen Bowling

Executive Director at Nebraska Family Alliance
When Karen isn't fulfilling her duties as the Executive Director of NFA, leading a women's Bible study, or coordinating a prayer meeting, she's usually with her four grand children that keep her busy, laughing, and young at heart.
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