Nebraska's constitution was adopted in 1875. It was amended in 1982 to ensure that rangeland and farmland could be sold only to a Nebraska family-farm corporation. The executive branch is headed by a governor elected for a four-year term. By constitutional amendment in 1934 the legislature was made unicameral (it is unique in the United States), with 49 members elected on a nonpartisan basis for terms of four years. The state elects three representatives and two senators to the U.S. Congress and has five electoral votes in presidential elections. In 1986, Nebraska's Kay A. Orr became the first Republican woman to be elected governor of a state. E. Benjamin Nelson, a Democrat elected governor in 1990 and 1994, was succeeded by Mike Johanns, a Republican elected in 1998 and 2002. Johanns resigned in 2005 to become U.S. secretary of education, and was succeeded by fellow Republican Dave Heineman, who won election to the governorship in 2006 and reelection in 2010.
The state's leading institution of higher education is the Univ. of Nebraska, at Lincoln, Omaha, and Kearney. Creighton Univ. is at Omaha.