1 LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT Located in the western north central United States, Nebraska ranks 15th in size among the 50 states. ? e total area of the state is 77,355 sq mi (200,349 sq km), of which land takes up 76,644 sq mi (198,508 sq km) and inland water 711 sq mi (1,841 sq km). Nebraska extends about 415 mi (668 km) e w and 205 mi (330 km) n s. Nebraska is bordered on the n by South Dakota (with the line formed in part by the Missouri River), on the e by Iowa and Mis souri (the line being de? ned by the Missouri River), on the s by Kansas and Colorado, and on the w by Colorado and Wyoming. ? e boundary length of Nebraska totals 1,332 mi (2,143 km). ? e state"s geographic center is in Custer County, 10 mi (16 km) nw of Broken Bow. 2 TOPOGRAPHY Most of Nebraska is prairie; more than two thirds of the state lies within the Great Plains proper. ? e elevation slopes upward gradu ally from east to west, from a low of 840 ? (256 m) in the southeast along the Missouri River to 5,424 ? (1,654 m) in Johnson Twp. of Kimball County. ? e mean elevation of the state is approximately 2,600 ? (793 m). Rolling alluvial lowlands in the eastern portion of the state give way to the ? at, treeless plain of central Nebraska, which in turn rises to a tableland in the west. ? e Sand Hills of the north central plain is an unusual region of sand dunes anchored by grasses that cover about 18,000 sq mi (47,000 sq km). ? e Sand Hills region is dotted with small natural lakes; in the rest of the state, the main lakes are arti? cial. ? e Missouri Riv er which, with its tributaries, drains the entire state forms the eastern part of the northern boundary of Nebraska. ? ree rivers cross the state from west to east: the wide, shallow Platte River ? ows through the heart of the state for 310 mi (499 km), the Nio brara River traverses the state"s northern region, and the Republi can River ? ows through southern Nebraska. 3 CLIMATE Nebraska has a continental climate, with highly variable tempera tures from season to season and year to year. ? e central region has an annual normal temperature of 50 f (10 c), with a normal monthly maximum of 76 f (24 c) in July and a normal monthly minimum of 22 f ( 6 c) in January. ? e record low for the state is 47 f ( 44 c), registered in Morrill County on 12 February 1899; the record high of 118 f (48 c) was recorded at Minden on 24 July 1936. Average yearly precipitation in Omaha is about 30 in (76 cm); in the semiarid panhandle in the west, 17 in (43 cm); and in the southeast, 30 in (76 cm). Snowfall in the state varies from about 21 in (53 cm) in the southeast to about 45 in (114 cm) in the north west corner. Blizzards, droughts, and windstorms have plagued Nebraskans throughout their history. 4 FLORA AND FAUNA Nebraska"s deciduous forests are generally oak and hickory; coni fer forests are dominated by western yellow (ponderosa) pine. ? e tallgrass prairie may include various slough grasses and needle grasses, along with big bluestem and prairie dropseed. Mixed prairie regions abound with western wheatgrass and bu? alo grass. ? e prairie region of the Sand Hills supports a variety of blue stems, gramas, and other grasses. Common Nebraska wild? owers are wild rose, phlox, petunia, columbine, goldenrod, and sun? ow er. Rare species of Nebraska"s ? ora include the Hayden penstemon, yellow ladyslipper, pawpaw, and snow trillium. ? ree species were threatened as of 2006: Ute ladies" tresses, western prairie fringed orchid, and Colorado butter? y plant. ? e blowout penstemon was listed as endangered that year. 505 NEBRASKA State of Nebraska ORIGIN OF STATE NAME: Derived from the Oto Indian word nebrathka, meaning "? at water" (for the Platte River). NICKNAME: ? e Cornhusker State. CAPITAL: Lincoln. ENTERED UNION: 1 March 1867 (37th). SONG: "Beautiful Nebraska." MOTTO: Equality Before the Law. FLAG: ? e great seal appears in the center, in gold and silver, on a ? eld of blue. OFFICIAL SEAL: Agriculture is represented by a farmer"s cabin, sheaves of wheat, and growing corn; the mechanic arts, by a blacksmith. Above is the state motto; in the background, a steamboat plies the Missouri River and a train heads toward the Rockies. ? e scene is surrounded by the words "Great Seal of the State of Nebraska, March 1st 1867." BIRD: Western meadowlark. FLOWER: Golden rod. TREE: Western cottonwood. GEM: Blue agate. LEGAL HOLIDAYS: New Year"s Day, 1 January; Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., 3rd Monday in January; Presidents" Day, 3rd Monday in February; Arbor Day, last Friday in April; Memorial Day, last Monday in May; Independence Day, 4 July; Labor Day, 1st Monday in September; Columbus Day, 2nd Monday in October; Veterans" Day, 11 November; ? anksgiving, 4th ? urs day in November and following Friday; Christmas Day, 25 December. Other days for special observances in clude Pioneers" Memorial Day, 2nd Sunday in June; Nebraska Czech Day, 1st Sunday in August; and Ameri can Indian Day, 4th Monday in September. TIME: 6 AM CST = noon GMT; 5 AM MST = noon GMT.
506Nebraska Common mammals native to the state are the pronghorn sheep, white tailed and mule deer, badger, kit fox, coyote, striped ground squirrel, prairie vole, and several skunk species. ? ere are more than 400 kinds of birds, the mourning dove, barn swallow, and western meadowlark (the state bird) among them. ? ree main wetland areas (Rainwater Basin wetlands, Big Bend reach of the Platte River, and the Sandhills wetlands) serve as important mi grating and breeding grounds for waterfowl and nongame birds. Carp, cat? sh, trout, and perch are ? shed for sport. Rare animal species include the least shrew, least weasel, and bobcat. ? e US Fish and Wildlife Service listed nine animal species (vertebrates and invertebrates) as threatened or endangered in 2006, including the American burying beetle, bald eagle, whooping crane, black footed ferret, Topeka shiner, pallid sturgeon, and Eskimo curlew. 5 ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ? e Department of Environmental Quality was established in 1971 to protect and improve the quality of the state"s water, air, and land resources. ? e Agricultural Pollution Control Division of the Department regulates disposal of feedlot wastes and other sources of water pollution by agriculture. ? e Water and Waste Manage ment Division is responsible for administering the Federal Clean Water Act, the Federal Resources Conservation and Recovery Act, portions of the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Nebras ka Environmental Protection Act as it relates to water, solid waste, and hazardous materials. In 2003, Nebraska had 255 hazardous waste sites listed in the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) database, 12 of which were on the National Priorities List as of 2006. In 2005, the EPA spent over $15 million through the Super fund program for the cleanup of hazardous waste sites in the state. ? e same year, federal EPA grants awarded to the state included $8.2 million for its drinking water state revolving fund and $5.4 million for the clean water revolving fund. A program to protect groundwater from such pollutants as ni trates, synthetic organic compounds, hydrocarbons, pesticides, and other sources was outlined in 1985. In 1996, the state spent $3.2 million on its Soil and Water Conservation Program. In 1994, the state imposed a tax on commercial fertilizers to create the Nat ural Resources Enhancement Fund, which distributes funds to lo cal natural resource districts for water quality improvement pro grams. ? e Engineering Division regulates wastewater treatment standards and assists municipalities in securing federal construc tion grants for wastewater facilities. ? e Air Quality Division is responsible for monitoring and securing compliance with nation al ambient air quality standards. In 2003, 51.5 million lb of toxic chemicals were released in the state. ? e state has three main wetland areas: Rainwater Basin wet lands, Big Bend reach of the Platte River, and the Sandhills wet lands. While these areas are protected, the state has lost about 1 million acres (405,000 hectares) of wetlands since pre European settlement times. 6 POPULATION Nebraska ranked 38th in population in the United States with an estimated total of 1,758,787 in 2005, an increase of 2.8% since 2000. Between 1990 and 2000, Nebraska"s population grew from 1,578,385 to 1,711,263, an increase of 8.4%. ? e population was projected to reach 1.78 million by 2015 and 1.81 million by 2025. ? e population density in 2004 was 22.7 persons per sq mi. In 2004, the median age of all Nebraskans was 36. In the same year, 24.9% of the populace were under age 18 while 13.3% was age 65 or older. ? e largest cities in 2004 were Omaha, which ranked 43rd among the nation"s cities with an estimated population of 409,416, and Lincoln, with 236,146 residents. 7 ETHNIC GROUPS Among Nebraskans reporting at least one speci? c ancestry in the 2000 census, 661,133 identi? ed their ancestry as German, 163,651 as English, 229,805 as Irish, 93,286 as Czech, and 84,294 as Swed ish. ? e 2000 population also included 68,541 black Americans 21,931 Asians, and 836 Paci? c Islanders. ? ere were 94,425 His panics and Latinos in 2000, representing 5.5% of the total popula tion. In 2004, 4.3% of the population was black, 1.5% Asian, 0.1% Paci? c Islander, 6.9% Hispanic or Latino, and 1.1% of the popula tion claimed origin of two or more races. Foreign born residents numbered 74,638, or 4.4% of the total population, in 2000. ? ere were 14,896 American Indians in Nebraska as of 2000, down from around 16,000 in 1990. ? e three Indian reservations maintained for the Omaha, Winnebago, and Santee Sioux tribes had the following populations as of 2000: Omaha, 5,194, and Win nebago, 2,588, and Santee Sioux, 603. In 2004, 0.9% of the popula tion was American Indian. 8 LANGUAGES Many Plains Indians of the Macro Siouan family once roamed widely over what is now Nebraska. Place names derived from the Siouan language include Omaha, Ogallala, Niobrara, and Keya Paha. In 1990, about 1,300 Nebraskans claimed Indian tongues as their ? rst languages. In 2000, 1, 469,046 Nebraskans 92.1% of the resident popula tion ? ve years old or older spoke only English at home, down from 95.2% in 1990. ? e following table gives selected statistics from the 2000 Cen sus for language spoken at home by persons ? ve years old and over. ? e category "Other Slavic languages" includes Czech, Slo vak, and Ukrainian. ? e category "African languages" includes Amharic, Ibo, Twi, Yoruba, Bantu, Swahili, and Somali. language number percent Population 5 years and over 1,594,700 100.0Speak only English 1,469,046 92.1 Speak a language other than English 125,654 7.9 Speak a language other than English 125,654 7.9 Spanish or Spanish Creole 77,655 4.9 German 8,865 0.6 Vietnamese 5,958 0.4 Other Slavic languages 4,236 0.3 French (incl. Patois, Cajun) 3,631 0.2 Chinese 2,409 0.2 Arabic 1,628 0.1 Russian 1,559 0.1 African languages 1,472 0.1 Polish 1,420 0.1 Italian 1,419 0.1 Tagalog 1,311 0.1 Japanese 1,274 0.1 Nebraska English, except for a slight South Midland in? uence in the southwest and some Northern in? uence from Wisconsin and New York settlers in the Platte River Valley, is almost pure
507Nebraska 0 0 25 50 miles 50 kilometers 25 N RICHARDSON PAWNEE GAGE JOHNSON NEMAHA OTOE CASS LANCASTER SARPYDOUGLAS SAUNDERS WASHINGTON DODGE JEFFERSON THAYER SALINE NUCKOLLS FILLMORE CLAY HAMILTON YORK SEWARD MERRICKNANCE PLATTE BURT DAKOTA CUMING BOONE STANTON MADISONDIXON WAYNE PIERCE ANTELOPE CEDAR WEBSTER FRANKLIN HARLAN ADAMSKNOX KEARNEY PHELPSHALL BUFFALOHOWARD SHERMANGREELEY VALLEY WHEELER GARFIELDHOLT BOYD FURNASGOSPERDAWSONCUSTERBLAINEBROWN ROCKKEYA PAHA FRONTIER LOGAN THOMAS HITCHCOCK HAYESLINCOLN MC PHERSONHOOKER DUNDY CHASEPERKINSKEITH ARTHURGRANTCHERRY DEUEL GARDEN SHERIDAN CHEYENNE MORRILL KIMBALLBANNER SCOTTS BLUFF BOX DAWES SIOUX LOUP COLFAX BUTLER POLK RED Calamus R. Dismal R. N. Loup R. Boa Sn White R. Niobrara R. Elkhorn R. N. Platte R. S. Loup R. Niobrara R. 80 80 Lincoln Norfolk Fremont Beatrice HastingsColumbus Grand KearneyNorth Platte Oglala NationalGrassland Nebraska Nat'l For. Crescent Lake Nat'l WildlifeRefugeSamuel R. Mc KelvieFort Niobrara N.W.R. NebraskaNat'l For. Santee IndianReservation Winnebago IndianReservation Agate FossilBeds Lake McConaughy St. Rec. Area Trenton Dam Ponca S.P. NEBRASKA Explanation Point of Interest City (10,000 100,000) people City (more than 100,000 people) State Capital U.S. Interstate Route Area of Interest Walgren Lake State Scotts BluffNat"l Mon. Missouri R . Island Omaha Bellevue AtkinsonLake St.Rec. AreaNat"l Mon. 80 a k e R. r dman R. Platte R. Wildcat HillsStateRec. Area Bridgeport StateRec. Area Oliver Res. StateRec. Area Lodgepole R. Rec. Area Box Butte Res. State Rec. Area BUTTE ValentineNationalWildlife Ref.Nat'l For. Cottonwood LakeSt. Rec. Area Ash HollowSt. Hist. Park WILLOW St. Rec. Area Champion Lake Enders Res.St. Rec. Area Rock CreekSt. Rec. Area Swanson Res.St. Rec. Area Lewis andClark LakeSt. Rec. Area Papillion Rec. AreaArnold Lake StateVictoria Springs St. Rec. AreaSt. Rec. Area Long Lake Long PineSt. Rec. Area Keller Park St. Rec. Area S. R. A. Res.Calamus Rec. Area StatePibel Lake Rec. Area Res. StateSherman St. Rec. Area LakeRavenna Fort HartsuffSt. Hist. Park SandyChannelSt. Rec. AreaFt. Kearney StateRec. Area Verdon LakeSt. Rec. Area Indian CaveState Park St. Rec. AreaMarinaRiverview IOWASOUTH DAKOTA KANSAS COLORADO WYOMING Scottsbluff SutherlandSt. Rec. Area Red Willow Res.St. Rec. Area DLDStateRec. Area S. Platte R. M. Loup R. WillowCreekSt. Rec. Area PlatteRiverSt. Park Two RiversSt. Rec. Area Blue RiverSt. Rec.Area AlexandriaLakesS. R. A. MISSOURI RockfordLake St.Rec. AreaTHURSTON Rock Cr. StationSt. Hist. Pk. andSt. Rec. Area
508Nebraska North Midland. A few words, mostly food terms like kolaches (fruit ? lled pastries), are derived from the language of the large Czech population. Usual pronunciation features are on and hog with the /o/, cow and now as /kaow/ and /naow/, because with the /ah/ vowel, cot and caught as sound alikes, and a strong ? nal /r/. Fire sounds almost like far, and our like are; greasy is pronounced /greezy/. 9 RELIGIONS Nebraska"s religious history derives from its patterns of immigra tion. German and Scandinavian settlers tended to be Lutheran; Irish, Polish, and Czech immigrants were mainly Roman Catholic. Methodism and other Protestant religions were spread by settlers from other Midwestern states. ? ough Protestants collectively outnumber Catholics, the Ro man Catholic Church is the largest single Christian denomination within the state with about 376,843 adherents in 2004; of which 229,952 belong to the archdiocese of Omaha. As of a 2000 gen eral survey, Lutherans constituted the largest Protestant group with 117,419 adherents of the Missouri Synod, 128,570 of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and 5,829 of the Wis consin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. In 2004, there were 84,337 members of the United Methodist Church. In 2000, there were 39,420 Presbyterians USA. In 2006, there were 20,910 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints (Mormons); a Mormon temple was opened in Winter Quarters in 2001. As of 2005, there were 18,119 members of the United Church of Christ. ? e Jewish population was estimated at 7,100 in 2000 and Mus lims numbered about 3,115. ? at year, there were 704,403 people (about 41% of the population) who were not counted as members of any religious organization. 10 TRANSPORTATION Nebraska"s development was profoundly in? uenced by two ma jor railroads, the Union Paci? c and the Chicago Burlington and Quincy (later merged along with the Great Northern and North ern Paci? c railroads into the Burlington Northern in 1970), both of which were major landowners in the state in the late 1800s. As of 2003, the Union Paci? c and the former railroads that make up the Burlington Northern (now the Burlington Northern Santa Fe) still operated in Nebraska, and constitute the state"s two Class I railroads. Altogether, in that year, there were 11 railroads in the state with 3,548 rail mi (5,712 km) of track. As of 2006, Amtrak provided east west service to ? ve stations in Nebraska via its Chi cago to Emreyville/San Francisco California Zephyr train Nebraska"s road system which totaled 93,245 mi (150,124 km) in 2004, is dominated by Interstate 80, the major east west route and the largest public investment project in the state"s history. Some 1.678 million motor vehicles were registered in 2004, of which around 829,000 were automobiles and about 820,000 were trucks of all types. ? ere were 1,315,819 licensed drivers in the state that same year. In 2005, Nebraska had a total of 303 public and private use avi ation related facilities. ? is included 266 airports, 36 heliports, and one seaplane base. Eppley Air? eld, Omaha"s airport, is by far the busiest in the state. In 2004, Epply had 1,892,379 passengers enplaned.Nebraska in 2004 had 318 mi (512 km) of navigable waterways. In 2003, waterborne shipments totaled only 50,000 tons. 11 HISTORY Nebraska"s ? rst inhabitants, from about 10,000 bc, were nomadic Paleo Indians. Successive groups were more sedentary, cultivat ing corn and beans. Archaeological excavations indicate that pro longed drought and dust storms before the 16th century caused these inhabitants to vacate the area. In the 16th and 17th cen turies, other Indian tribes came from the East, some pushed by enemy tribes, others seeking new hunting grounds. By 1800, se misedentary Pawnee, Ponca, Omaha, and Oto, along with several nomadic groups, were in the region. ? e Indians developed amiable relations with the ? rst white ex plorers, French and Spanish fur trappers and traders who traveled through Nebraska in the 18th century using the Missouri River as a route to the West. ? e area was claimed by both Spain and France and was French territory at the time of the Louisiana Pur chase, when it came under US jurisdiction. It was explored during the ? rst half of the 19th century by Lewis and Clark, Zebulon Pike, Stephen H. Long, and John C. Fr mont. ? e Indian Intercourse Act of 1834 forbade white settlement west of the Mississippi River, reserving the Great Plains as Indi an Territory. Nothing prevented whites from traversing Nebraska, however, and from 1840 to 1866, some 350,000 persons crossed the area on the Oregon, California, and Mormon trails, following the Platte River Valley, which was a natural highway to the West. Military forts were established in the 1840s to protect travelers from Indian attack. ? e Kansas Nebraska Act of 1854 established Nebraska Territo ry, which stretched from Kansas to Canada and from the Missouri River to the Rockies. ? e territory assumed its present shape in 1861. Still sparsely populated, Nebraska escaped the violence over the slavery issue that a? icted Kansas. ? e creation of Nebraska Territory heightened con? ict between Indians and white settlers, however, as Indians were forced to cede more and more of their land. From mid 1860 to the late 1870s, western Nebraska was a battleground for Indians and US soldiers. By 1890, the Indians were defeated and moved onto reservations in Nebraska, South Dakota, and Oklahoma. Settlement of Nebraska Territory was rapid, accelerated by the Homestead Act of 1862, under which the US government pro vided 160 acres (65 hectares) to a settler for a nominal fee, and the construction of the Union Paci? c, the ? rst transcontinental railroad. ? e Burlington Railroad, which came to Nebraska in the late 1860s, used its vast land grants from Congress to pro mote immigration, selling the land to potential settlers from the East and from Europe. ? e end of the Civil War brought an in ? ux of Union veterans, bolstering the Republican administration, which began pushing for statehood. On 1 March 1867, Nebraska became the 37th state to join the Union. Farming and ranching developed as the state"s two main enterprises. Facing for the ? rst time the harsh elements of the Great Plains, homesteaders in cen tral and western Nebraska evolved what came to be known as the sod house culture, using grassy soil to construct sturdy insulated homes. ? ey harnessed the wind with windmills to pump water, constructed fences of barbed wire, and developed dry land farm ing techniques.
509Nebraska Ranching existed in Nebraska as early as 1859, and by the 1870s it was well established in the western part of the state. Some for eign investors controlled hundreds of thousands of acres of the free range. ? e cruel winter of 1886 87 killed thousands of cattle and bankrupted many of these large ranches. By 1890, depressed farm prices, high railroad shipping charg es, and rising interest rates were hurting the state"s farmers, and a drought in the 1890s exacerbated their plight. ? ese problems contributed to the rise of populism, a pro agrarian movement. Many Nebraska legislators embraced populism, helping to bring about the ? rst initiative and referendum laws in the United States, providing for the regulation of stockyards and telephone and tele graph companies, and instituting compulsory education. World War I created a ri? among Nebraskans as excessive patri otic zeal was directed against residents of German descent. Ger man language newspapers were censored, ministers were ordered to preach only in English (o? en to congregations that understood only German), and three university professors of German origin were ? red. A Nebraska law (1919) that prohibited the teaching of any foreign language until high school was later declared uncon stitutional by the US Supreme Court. Tilling of marginal land to take advantage of farm prices that had been in? ated during World War I caused economic distress during the 1920s. Nebraska"s farm economy was already in peril when the dust storms of the 1930s began, and conditions wors ened as drought, heat, and grasshopper invasions plagued the state. ? ousands of people, particularly from the southwest counties in which dust bowl conditions were most severe, ? ed Nebraska for the west coast. Some farmers joined protest movements dump ing milk, for example, rather than selling at depressed prices while others marched on the state capital to demand a morato rium on farm debts, which they received. In the end, federal aid saved the farmers. ? e onset of World War II brought prosperity to other sectors. Military air? elds and war industries were placed in the state be cause of its safe inland location, bringing industrial growth that extended into the postwar years. Much of the new industry that developed during the postwar era was agriculture related, includ ing the manufacture of mechanized implements and irrigation equipment. Farm output and income increased dramatically into the 1970s through wider use of hybrid seed, pesticides, fungicides, chemi cal fertilizers, close row planting, and irrigation, but contaminat ed runo? adversely a? ected water quality and greater water use drastically lowered water table levels. Many farmers took on large debt burdens to ? nance expanded output, their credit buoyed by strong farm product prices and exports. When prices began to fall in the early 1980s, many found themselves overextended. By spring 1985, an estimated 10% of all farmers were reported ly close to bankruptcy. In the early 1990s farm prices rose; the average farm income in Nebraska rose more than 10% between 1989 and the mid 1990s. Increasingly, the state had fewer, larger, and more mechanized farms. ? e growth of small industries and tourism also bolstered Nebraska"s economy in the 1990s. By 1999 the state enjoyed one of the lowest unemployment rates in the na tion 2.9%. But farmers were struggling again. A wild? re in the Sandhills of Nebraska"s panhandle in 1999 scorched 74,840 acres and claimed 25,000 trees; it was the largest ? re in the state"s his tory. In the summer of 2000, areas of the state had had no substan tial rain in a year. ? e previous autumn and winter were the driest on record. Drought conditions prevailed. Even with mitigation ef forts, much of the state"s corn crop was lost. Challenges still facing the state have included a loss of popula tion in rural areas, urban decay, and tension among various ethnic groups. In 1998 there were more Hispanics, accounting for 4.4% of the population, in the state than there were African Americans; Nebraska also has a small Native American population. Water conservation to avoid depletion of the state"s aquifers for irriga tion purposes remains a major priority. Nebraska was facing its worst recession since the 1980s in 2003. By 2004, the state was in its ? ? h straight year of severe drought conditions. Lt. Governor Dave Heineman became Nebraska"s governor in January 2005 when former Governor Mike Johanns resigned to serve as US Secretary of Agriculture. Heineman upon coming to o? ce focused on four priorities: education, economic vitality, ef ? ciency in government, and protecting families. 12 STATE GOVERNMENT ? e ? rst state constitution was adopted in 1866; a second, adopted in 1875, is still in e? ect. A 1919 20 constitutional convention pro posed and voters passed 41 amendments; by January 2005, the document had been revised an additional 222 times. Nebraska"s legislature is unique among the states; since 1934, it has been a unicameral body of 49 members elected on a nonpar tisan basis. Members, who go by the title of senator, are chosen in even numbered years for four year terms. Legislative sessions begin in early January each year and are limited to 90 legislative days in odd numbered years and to 60 legislative days in even numbered years. Special sessions, not formally limited in dura tion, may be called by petition of two thirds of the legislators. Leg islators must be quali? ed voters, at least 21 years old, and should have lived in their district for a year prior to election. ? e legisla tive salary was $12,000 in 2004, unchanged from 1999. Elected executives are the governor, lieutenant governor, secre tary of state, auditor, treasurer, and attorney general, all of whom serve four year terms. ? e governor and lieutenant governor are jointly elected; each must be a US citizen for at least ? ve years, at least 30 years old, and have been a resident and citizen of Nebras ka for at least ? ve years. A? er serving two consecutive terms, the governor is ineligible for the o? ce for four years. As of December 2004, the governor"s salary was $85,000. A bill becomes law when passed by a majority of the legislature and signed by the governor. If the governor does not approve, the bill is returned with objections, and a three ? ? hs vote of the mem bers of the legislature is required to override the veto. A bill auto matically becomes law if the governor does not take action within ? ve days of receiving it. A three ? ? hs majority of the legislature is required to propose an amendment to the state constitution. ? e people may propose an amendment by presenting a petition signed by 10% of total votes for governor at last election. ? e amendments are then sub mitted for approval at the next regular election or at a special elec tion in which a majority of the votes tallied must be at least 30% of the total number of registered voters.
510Nebraska Voters in Nebraska must be US citizens, at least 18 years old, and state residents. Restrictions apply to convicted felons and those o? cially found mentally incompetent. 13 POLITICAL PARTIES In the 2000 presidential elections, Republican candidate George W. Bush secured 63% of the vote; Democrat Al Gore, 33%; and Green Party candidate Ralph Nader, 3%. In 2004, Bush again dominated, with 66% of the vote to Democratic challenger John Kerry"s 33%. In 2004 there were 1,160,000 registered voters. In 1998, 37% of registered voters were Democratic, 49% Republican, and 14% un a? liated or members of other parties. ? e state had ? ve electoral votes in the 2004 presidential election. In the 2000 elections, Democrat Ben Nelson was elected to the Senate; Republican Chuck Hagel won election to the Senate in 1996 and was reelected in 2002. In 1998 Republican Mike Johanns was elected to succeed Nelson as governor; Johanns was reelected in 2002, but resigned before completing his term to become the US secretary of agriculture. Johanns was succeeded by Lieuten ant Governor Dave Heineman in January 2005. Republicans won all three of the state"s seats in the US House of Representatives in 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2004. Nebraska"s unicameral state legislature is nonpartisan. 14 LOCAL GOVERNMENT In 2005, Nebraska had 93 counties, 531 municipalities, and 576 public school districts. Some 1,146 special districts covered such services as ? re protection, housing, irrigation, and sewage treat ment. In 2002, there were 446 townships. Boards of supervisors or commissioners, elected by voters, administer at the county level. Municipalities are generally governed by a mayor (or city manag er) and council. Villages elect trustees to governing boards. In 2005, local government accounted for about 79,114 full time (or equivalent) employment positions. 15 STATE SERVICES To address the continuing threat of terrorism and to work with the federal Department of Homeland Security, homeland security in Nebraska operates under executive order; the lieutenant governor is designated as the state homeland security advisor. As of 1 June 1971, the O? ce of Public Counsel (Ombudsman) was empowered to investigate complaints from citizens in rela tion to the state government. ? e Accountability and Disclosure Commission, established in 1977, regulates the organization and ? nancing of political campaigns and investigates reports of con ? icts of interest involving state o? cials. ? e eight member state Board of Education, elected on a non partisan basis, oversees elementary and secondary public schools and vocational education. ? e Board of Regents, which also con sists of eight elected members, governs the University of Nebras ka system. Special examining boards license architects, engineers, psychologists, and land surveyors. ? e Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education works to develop a statewide plan for an educationally and economically sound, progressive, and co ordinated system of postsecondary education. ? e Department of Roads maintains and builds highways, and the Department of Aeronautics regulates aviation, licenses air ports, and registers aviators. ? e Department of Motor Vehicles provides vehicle and driver services. Natural resources are pro tected by the Forest Service, Energy O? ce, Game and Parks Com mission, and the Natural Resources Department. Public assistance, child welfare, medical care for the indigent, and a special program of services for children with disabilities are the responsibility of the Health and Human Service System, which also operates community health services, provides nutritional ser vices, and is responsible for disease control. ? e state"s huge agricultural industry is aided and monitored by the Department of Agriculture, which is empowered to pro tect livestock, inspect food processing areas, conduct research into crop development, and encourage product marketing. ? e Nebraska Corn Board works to enhance the pro? tability of the corn producer. 16 JUDICIAL SYSTEM ? e Nebraska Supreme Court is the state"s highest court, which consists of a chief justice and six other justices, all of whom are ini tially appointed by the governor. ? ey must be elected a? er serv ing three years, and every six years therea? er, running unopposed on their own record. Below the Supreme Court are the district courts of which 53 judges serve 21 districts in the state. ? ese are trial courts of general jurisdiction. County courts handle criminal misdemeanors and civil cases involving less than $5,000. In addi tion, there are a court of industrial relations, a worker"s compen sation court, two conciliation courts (family courts), two munici pal courts (in Omaha and Lincoln), and juvenile courts in three counties. As of 31 December 2004, a total of 4,130 prisoners were held in Nebraska"s state and federal prisons, an increase from 4,040 of 2.2% from the previous year. As of year end 2004, a total of 369 inmates were female, up from 323 or 14.2% from the year before. Among sentenced prisoners (one year or more), Nebraska had an incarceration rate of 230 per 100,000 population in 2004. Nebraska Presidential Vote by Major Political Parties, 1948 2004 YEAR ELECTORAL VOTE NEBRASKA WINNER DEMOCRAT REPUBLICAN 1948 6 Dewey (R) 224,165 264,774 1952 6 *Eisenhower (R) 188,057 421,603 1956 6 *Eisenhower (R) 199,029 378,108 1960 6 Nixon (R) 232,542 380,553 1964 5 *Johnson (D) 307,307 276,847 1968 5 *Nixon (R) 170,784 321,163 1972 5 *Nixon (R) 169,991 406,298 1976 5 Ford (R) 233,692 359,705 1980 5 *Reagan (R) 166,424 419,214 1984 5 *Reagan (R) 187,866 460,054 1988 5 *Bush (R) 259,235 397,956 1992** 5 Bush (R) 217,344 344,346 1996** 5 Dole (R) 236,761 363,467 2000 5 *Bush, G. W. (R) 231,780 433,862 2004 5 *Bush, G. W. (R) 254,328 512,814 *Won US presidential election. ** IND. candidate Ross Perot received 174,687 votes in 1992 and 71,278 votes in 1996.
511Nebraska According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Nebraska in 2004 had a violent crime rate (murder/nonnegligent manslaugh ter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault) of 308.7 reported incidents per 100,000 population, or a total of 5,393 reported inci dents. Crimes against property (burglary, larceny/the? , and motor vehicle the? ) in that same year totaled 61,512 reported incidents or 3,520.6 reported incidents per 100,000 people. Nebraska has a death penalty, of which electrocution is the sole method of execu tion. From 1976 through 5 May 2006, the state had executed only three people, the most recent of which was in December 1997. As of 1 January 2006, Nebraska had 10 inmates on death row. In 2003, Nebraska spent $42,004,625 on homeland security, an average of $24 per state resident. 17 ARMED FORCES ? e US military presence in the state is concentrated near Oma ha, where O? utt Air Force Base serves as the headquarters of the US Strategic Air Command. In 2004, Nebraska ? rms were award ed $401.2 million in defense contracts, and defense payroll out lays were $925 million. In the same year, there were 7,332 active duty military personnel and 3,769 civilian personnel stationed in Nebraska. A total of 159,487 veterans of US military service resided in Ne braska as of 2003. Of these, 22,241 served in World War II, 20,282 in the Korean con? ict, 48,499 in the Vietnam era, and 25,391 dur ing the Persian Gulf War. For the ? scal year 2004, total Veterans A? airs expenditures in Nebraska amounted to $538 million. As of 31 October 2004, the Nebraska State Patrol employed 498 full time sworn o? cers. 18 MIGRATION ? e pioneers who settled Nebraska in the 1860s consisted main ly of Civil War veterans from the North and foreign born immi grants. Some of the settlers migrated from the East and easterly parts of the Midwest, but many came directly from Europe to farm the land. ? e Union Paci? c and Burlington Northern railroads, which sold land to the settlers, actively recruited immigrants in Europe. Germans were the largest group to settle in Nebraska (in 1900, 65,506 residents were German born), then Czechs from Bo hemia, and Scandinavians from Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. ? e Irish came to work on the railroads in the 1860s and stayed to help build the cities. Another wave of Irish immigrants in the 1880s went to work in the packinghouses of Omaha. ? e city"s stockyards also attracted Polish workers. ? e 1900 census showed that over one half of all Nebraskans were either foreign born or the children of foreign born parents. For much of the 20th cen tury, Nebraska was in a period of out migration. From 1930 to 1960, the state su? ered a net loss of nearly 500,000 people through migration, with more than one third of the total leaving during the dust bowl decade, 1930 40. ? is trend continued, with Nebraska experiencing a net out migration of 27,400 for the period 1985 90. Between 1990 and 1998, the state had net gains of 2,000 in do mestic migration and 14,000 in international migration. In 1998, 1,267 foreign immigrants arrived in Nebraska. ? e state"s overall population increased 5.3% between 1990 and 1998. In the period 2000 05, net international migration was 22,199 and net internal migration was 26,206, for a net loss of 4,007 people. 19 INTERGOVERNMENTAL COOPERATION Nebraska"s Commission on Intergovernmental Cooperation rep resents the state in the Council of State Governments. As an oil producing state, Nebraska is a member of the Interstate Compact to Conserve Oil and Gas. In addition, the state belongs to several regional commissions. Of particular importance are the Republi can River Compact with Colorado and Kansas, the Big Blue River Compact with Kansas, the South Platte River Compact with Colo rado, the Ponca Creek Nebraska South Dakota Wyoming Water Compact, and the Upper Niobrara River Compact with Wyoming. ? e Nebraska Boundary Commission was authorized in 1982 to enter into negotiations to more precisely demarcate Nebraska"s boundaries with Iowa, South Dakota, and Missouri. Nebraska is also a member of the Central Interstate Low Level Radioac tive Waste Compact, under which Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas have located a suitable disposal site for such waste. Boundary pacts are in e? ect with Iowa, Missouri, and South Dakota. In ? scal year 2005, the state received $1.893 billion in federal grants, an estimated $1.927 billion in ? scal year 2006, and an estimated $1.994 billion in ? scal year 2007. 20 ECONOMY Agriculture has historically been the backbone of Nebraska"s economy, with cattle, corn, hogs, and soybeans leading the state"s list of farm products. However, Nebraska is attempting to diver sify its economy and has been successful in attracting new busi ness, in large part because of its location near western coal and oil deposits. ? e largest portion of the state"s labor force is employed in agri culture, either directly or indirectly as farm workers, as factory workers in the food processing and farm equipment industries, or as providers of related services. ? e service sector, which includes not only the servicing of equipment but also the high growth areas of health and business services and telemarketing, expanded at an annual rate of 4.4% during the 1980s. ? e trend intensi? ed in the late 1990s, as general services grew at an average annual rate of 7.7% from 1998 to 2001, and ? nancial services grew at an average rate of 5.7%. Nebraska was not deeply involved in the information technology (IT) boom of the 1990s, and therefore was not deeply a? ected by its bust in 2001. Coming into the 21st century, the state economy grew a moderate average rate of about 4.1% (1998 to 2000), which fell to 2.4% in 2001. In 2001, declines in manufac turing employment were o? set by increases in the services and government sectors. ? e job losses became more severe in 2002, by the fourth quarter, the unemployment rate had eased to 3.3%, down from 3.9% in April 2002. With technological advances in farming and transportation, and consolidation in the agricultural sector, Nebraska"s rural counties have been losing population since the 1970s. In 2002, sixty six of Nebraska"s 93 counties had lower populations than in the 1970s, and population loss accelerated during the 1990s. Drought con ditions in 2002 disrupted cattle production because of shortages of hay and pasture. Drought persisted into the winter of 2002 03, and the state is likely to face long term water shortages. Nebraska"s gross state product (GSP) in 2004 was $68.183 bil lion, of which manufacturing (durable and nondurable goods) ac counted for the largest share at $8.305 billion or 12.1% of GSP, fol
512Nebraska lowed by the real estate sector at $5.872 billion (8.6% of GSP), and health care and social assistance at $4.919 billion (7.2% of GSP). In that same year, there were an estimated 151,088 small business es in Nebraska. Of the 46,161 businesses that had employees, an estimated total of 44,703 or 96.8% were small companies. An esti mated 4,849 new businesses were established in the state in 2004, up 12.5% from the year before. Business terminations that same year came to 5,051, unchanged from 2003. ? ere were 207 busi ness bankruptcies in 2004, down 13% from the previous year. In 2005, the state"s personal bankruptcy (Chapter 7 and Chapter 13) ? ling rate was 485 ? lings per 100,000 people, ranking Nebraska as the 28th highest in the nation. 21 INCOME In 2005 Nebraska had a gross state product (GSP) of $70 billion which accounted for 0.6% of the nation"s gross domestic product and placed the state at number 37 in highest GSP among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in 2004 Ne braska had a per capita personal income (PCPI) of $32,341. ? is ranked 21st in the United States and was 98% of the national av erage of $33,050. ? e 1994 2004 average annual growth rate of PCPI was 4.5%. Nebraska had a total personal income (TPI) of $56,523,179,000, which ranked 36th in the United States and re ? ected an increase of 5.8% from 2003. ? e 1994 2004 average annual growth rate of TPI was 5.2%. Earnings of persons em ployed in Nebraska increased from $41,452,474,000 in 2003 to $43,923,337,000 in 2004, an increase of 6.0%. ? e 2003 04 na tional change was 6.3%. ? e US Census Bureau reports that the three year average median household income for 2002 to 2004 in 2004 dollars was $44,623 compared to a national average of $44,473. During the same period an estimated 9.9% of the population was below the poverty line as compared to 12.4% nationwide. 22 LABOR According to the US Department of Labor"s Bureau of Labor Sta tistics (BLS), in April 2006 the seasonally adjusted civilian la bor force in Nebraska numbered 988,200, with approximately 33,700 workers unemployed, yielding an unemployment rate of 3.4%, compared to the national average of 4.7% for the same pe riod. Preliminary data for the same period placed nonfarm em ployment at 947,100. Since the beginning of the BLS data series in 1976, the highest unemployment rate recorded in Nebraska was 6.8% in February 1983. ? e historical low was 2.2% in Febru ary 1998. Preliminary nonfarm employment data by occupation for April 2006 showed that approximately 4.9% of the labor force was employed in construction; 10.9% in manufacturing; 21.2% in trade, transportation, and public utilities; 6.9% in ? nancial activi ties; 10.4% in professional and business services; 13.7% in educa tion and health services; 8.5% in leisure and hospitality services; and 17.1% in government. ? e BLS reported that in 2005, a total of 69,000 of Nebraska"s 830,000 employed wage and salary workers were formal members of a union. ? is represented 8.3% of those so employed, which was unchanged from 2004, and below the national average of 12%. Overall in 2005, a total of 79,000 workers (9.5%) in Nebraska were covered by a union or employee association contract, which in cludes those workers who reported no union a? liation. Nebraska is one of 22 states with a right to work law. As of 1 March 2006, Nebraska had a state mandated minimum wage rate of $5.15 per hour. In 2004, women in the state accounted for 47.1% of the employed civilian labor force. 23 AGRICULTURE Territorial Nebraska was settled by homesteaders. Farmers eas ily adapted to the land and the relatively rainy eastern region, and corn soon became their major crop. In the drier central and western prairie regions, settlers were forced to learn new farm ing methods to conserve moisture in the ground. Droughts in the 1890s provided impetus for water conservation. Initially, oats and spring wheat were grown along with corn, but by the end of the 19th century, winter wheat became the main wheat crop. ? e drought and dust storms of the 1930s, which devastated the state"s agricultural economy, once again drove home the need for water and soil conservation. In 2002, a total of 7.5 million acres (3 mil lion hectares) were irrigated, a 21% increase from 1992. In 2004, there were 48,300 farms covering 45.9 million acres (18.6 million hectares). With total cash receipts from farm marketings at over $11.2 bil lion in 2005, Nebraska ranked fourth among the 50 states. About $7.3 billion of all farm marketings came from livestock produc tion, and $3.9 billion from cash crops (9.9% of US total). In 2004, corn accounted for 22% of farm receipts. Crop production in 2004 (in bushels) included: corn, 1.3 bil lion; sorghum grain, 33.6 million; wheat, 61 million; oats, 3.7 mil lion; and barley, 162,000. Hay production was 6.1 million tons and potato production, 9.3 million hundredweight (422 million kg). During 2000 04, Nebraska ranked third among the states in pro duction of corn for grain and sorghum for grain, and ? ? h in sor ghum for beans. Farms in Nebraska are major businesses requiring large land holdings to justify investments. ? e average value of an acre of cropland in 2004 was $1,750. Nebraska farms still tend to be owned by individuals or families rather than by large corpora tions. ? e strength of state support for the family farm was re? ect ed in the passage of a 1982 constitutional amendment, initiated by petition, prohibiting the purchase of Nebraska farm and ranch lands by other than a Nebraska family farm corporation. 24 ANIMAL HUSBANDRY In 2005, Nebraska ranked third behind Texas and Kansas in the total number of cattle on farms (6.35 million), including 61,000 milk cows. Nebraska farmers had around 2.85 million hogs and pigs, valued at $313.5 million in 2004. During 2003, the state pro duced an estimated 10.3 million lb (4.7 million kg) of sheep and lambs, which grossed $10.8 million in income for Nebraska farm ers. Dairy products included 1.13 billion lb (0.51 billion kg) of milk produced. 25 FISHING Commercial ? shing is negligible in Nebraska. ? e US Fish and Wildlife Service maintains 87 public ? shing areas. In 2004, the state had 176,619 ? shing license holders. ? ere are ? ve state hatcheries producing a variety of stock ? sh that includes large