Nebraska is getting ready to celebrate its 153rd statehood achievements. That birthday will happen on March 1, 2020. This was not an easy achievement, as Nebraska is the only state in the nation to have achieved statehood with a congressional override of a presidential veto.

A bill admitting Nebraska as a state was passed by Congress July 28, 1866. But owing to the near approach of the end of that session of the national body, President Andrew Johnson only had to put his hands in his pocket — a pocket veto — and walk away.

In December of 1866, yet another bill was presented to Congress admitting Nebraska as a state. In the following January, Nebraska received the endorsement of both Houses and the bill was presented to be signed into law by President Johnson. Johnson immediately vetoed the bill on the grounds that it embraced conditions not contained in the enabling act.

The bill was however passed by both Houses of Congress over the president’s veto — the vote was 30 to 9 in the Senate on Feb. 8, and the next day a 120 to 44 vote by the House. Nebraska has the distinction of being the only state to achieve statehood with an override of a presidential veto.

The act was not to take effect “except upon the fundamental condition that within the state of Nebraska there shall be no denial of the elective franchise or any other right, to any person by reason of race or color, except Indians not taxed and upon further fundamental conditions.”

So, on March 1, 1967, Nebraska did become the 37th state in this great nation. These Nebraska citizens had fought an uphill battle for statehood, elected their first governor, a Republican named David Butler. But by the third year of his governorship, these harden and tough citizens decided Mr. Butler was not conducting business to their approval, so they impeached the very first Nebraska governor.

Loren L. Avey

3724 Norseman Ave.

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