Nebraska High Schoolers Learn about State Legislature

June 15, 2021, midnight ·

Students simulate a committee hearing
Many of the students in attendance are interested in pursuing a career in politics.

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Some high schoolers interested in politics in Nebraska are gathering at the capitol this week. Until Wednesday, they will learn about how the legislature runs.

The Unicameral Youth Legislature allows potential politicians the chance to debate bills and simulate committee hearings. All of the program’s activities are based on real bills and testimonies brought up during the latest legislative session.

Many students say that the process of signing a bill into law is much more complicated than they originally thought.

Amy Johnson organizes the details and logistics of the youth legislature. She said she’s encouraged by the students and their desire to learn about politics in Nebraska.

“I think it’s a great sign that we do have so many young people who want to spend part of their summer vacation kind of really getting into the weeds,” she said, “and talking about public policy and talking about issues that their communities are facing.”

Lilian Johnson will be a Junior at Omaha Westside High School. She said her debate coach told her about the youth legislature.

“Recently, I have taken an interest in going into law or politics and so I thought, 'not only would it be cool as a debate experience, but also an experience for possibly being in office at some point,'" she said.

Brian Streeter will be a junior at Malcolm High School in Malcolm, Nebraska and said a particular issue is important to him.

“I’m affected by this because my aunts are LGBTQ. I love them dearly and, you know, I don’t see how their marriage is offensive because it’s two people who love each other,” he said.

There are two full ride scholarships at stake and two one-hundred dollar scholarships as part of the program. They were donated by state senators.