But even if you don't recognize these men, you must recognize the importance of what they are doing. The document they write is the basis for many of the freedoms you Americans enjoy. It is the U.S. Constitution.
The Nebraska Constitution is the document that describes how Nebraska's government is organized and how Nebraska laws must be written. It declares the rights of the people and details the framework of the government -- officers, powers, and so on.
The constitution is more powerful than a law, because if a law is written that would violate this constitution, that law is thrown out. The Nebraska Supreme Court makes the decisions about the constitutionality of a law.
In September, 1921, Nebraska voters held a special election to consider 41 proposals from the constitutional conventionChanging the constitution is a very serious business and can only be done if the Legislature and the voters both agree to hold the convention. The last constitutional convention in Nebraska was in 1921. of 1919-1920. Votes cast by women went into a separate ballot box because there was a legal question about whether or not women could vote on constitutional amendmentsAn amendment is a change to a law or bill.. One measure would increase the membership of the Senate. The majority of men voted against it. The majority of women voted in favor of it. The women's votes were allowed and the measure passed.
Ultimately, the people of Nebraska must vote to make these changes.
Sometimes these changes start with the lawmakers-- the Legislature can
Sometimes changes are proposed by a constitutional convention -- the Legislature proposes holding a constitutional convention and voters must approve it. The convention then proposes amendments.
CitizensA citizen of Nebraska is one who lives here. can try to change the law or the constitution by means of the initiativeThe power and right of the people to propose (initiate) legislative measures. or the referendum petitionThe power and right of the people to propose or to repeal amendments to legislative measures.. Interest groups come up with an idea and then they create a petition. The interest group must collect the signatures of registered votersIn order to vote in Nebraska, you must prove you are 18 years old and a resident of Nebraska and you have to sign up by the second Friday before the election. When you vote, the volunteers at the polling place check to see if you are on their list of registered voters.. If they can collect enough valid signatures supporting the petition before the deadline, the voters will have a chance to vote on the change they proposed.
If an amendment is proposed by the Legislature or by an initiative petition, it then is sent back to the voters. It will appear on the ballot and must win a majority among those voting on the question.
If you want to know more about how citizens can propose laws, go to the Branches: Unicameral.
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT . . .
Why do we need to have ways to change laws?
What law would you change?
What are your reasons for changing the law?