State lawmakers today commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Unicameral.
Sen. Bill Avery of Lincoln brought to the floor a resolution honoring former United States Sen. George W. Norris who pushed the idea of a one-chamber, non-partisan legislature.
Avery told fellow senators during a floor speech that while Norris, a five-term member of Congress and a five-term member of the United States Senate, had many accomplishments in his political career; the Unicameral was the culmination of Norris’ dream of an open state legislature.
Avery said the Unicameral isn’t unique only because it is the only one-chamber legislature in the nation.
“Let me emphasize; no other legislature requires full public hearings on all bills, none. We are the only legislature that requires that kind of public participation,” according to Avery. “We open all of our bills to a public hearing. No other legislature is officially non-partisan. No other legislature opens its proceedings to the press to the extent that we do, none.”
Norris told fellow senators they should cherish the only one-chamber state legislature in the United States, they should cherish what the Unicameral brought to Nebraska state governance.
“So, non-partisanship prevails. Open-ness prevails. Accountability prevails,” Avery states. ”The Unicameral is strong. The Unicameral prevails and we can be proud of that.”
The Unicameral held its first session on January 5th of 1937.