By Katie Ziegler
Nebraska students Justin Myers and William Scheopner produced a lively 10-minute documentary about U. S. Senator George Norris’s efforts to create the nation’s only unicameral legislature.
Norris campaigned back and forth across the state to rally support for the 1934 ballot measure that abolished one chamber of the legislature and made the body nonpartisan. He felt that the two-house system was inefficient, expensive, and unresponsive to voters. Norris wrote, “there is no logical argument in favor of a two-house legislature. Through the conference committee, the politicians have the checks, and special interests have the balances.” Though he served in the Congress for 40 years, Norris’s goal in Nebraska was “to put the politicians out of business.”
Though Norris and Senning advised other states on their own pushes for unicameral legislatures, Nebraska remains unique among the 50 states today.
Kudos to Myers and Scheopner for their interest in state legislative history and for their excellent work on this documentary!