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One House, One House, 0803213204, 0-8032-1320-4, 978-0-8032-1320-3, 9780803213203, Charlyne Berens, , One House, 0803262337, 0-8032-6233-7, 978-0-8032-6233-1, 9780803262331, Charlyne Berens, , One House, 0803204841, 0-8032-0484-1, 978-0-8032-0484-3, 9780803204843, Charlyne Berens

One House
The Unicameral's Progressive Vision for Nebraska
Charlyne Berens

hardcover
2005. 231 pp.
Illus.
978-0-8032-1320-3
$45.00 s
Out of Print
 
paperback
2005. 231 pp.
Illus.
978-0-8032-6233-1
$25.95 s
 

When Nebraskans voted to trade in their bicameral, partisan legislature for a one-house, nonpartisan body in 1934, it was a revolutionary decision. The people of the state listened to George Norris, their U.S. senator, when he argued that the new institution would be more open, more efficient, more responsible, and more responsive to the people it was meant to serve. An ardent progressive, Norris convinced his fellow Nebraskans that a nonpartisan unicameral would take power from the elites and return it to “the people.” One House examines the magnetic and driven personalities at work behind the unicameral’s creation and chronicles the lawmakers’ struggles to remain true to the populist, progressive vision of its founders and the people of Nebraska.
 
Using historical research, surveys of Nebraskans and of current and former state senators, as well as in-depth interviews with senators and legislative observers, Charlyne Berens examines whether the promises that Norris and his fellow unicameral promoters made have held up over the years. Garnering a great deal of support and some criticism from the citizens of Nebraska, the one-house legislature remains a unique experiment in American democracy as well as a powerful symbol of Nebraskans' identity.

Charlyne Berens is an associate professor of journalism and mass communications at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. She is the author of Power to the People: Social Choice and the Populist/Progressive Ideal and Leaving Your Mark: The Political Career of Nebraska State Senator Jerome Warner.

"The book does make a valuable contribution that recommends it to those interested in the history and development of Nebraska's nonpartisan Unicameral. Berens succeeds in showing where the Unicameral has lived up to its promise and where it has fallen short."—James B. Johnson, Great Plains Research

“Berens writes in a relaxed style that is informative without being too technical. . . . Using surveys and interviews of current Nebraska state senators, Berens examines various aspects of unicameralism today—such as the power of lobbyists, the openness of decision making, the anticipated effects of term limits, and the influence of political party in the officially non-partisan legislature.”—Nebraska Life

"As good a single volume work on this niche subject as can be found. . . . Readership should be intense within the prime immediate audience—state senators past and present, lobbyists past and present, political science types in or out of the academe. Yet this documentary and analysis also would be a valuable examination for Nebraskans generally. . . . Berens invested substantial effort researching her subject, via interviews and the published record."—Lincoln Journal Star


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