Secular Coalition for Nebraska Monthly Conference Call

Monday, October 15, 2012 - 16:00 - 16:30
Call In Details: 
530-881-1400 code: 978895


Secular Coalition for America - Nebraska Chapter Conference Call
Call in number: 530-881-1400 Participant Code: 978895
Monday, October 15th at 3pm CT


Welcome Message

  • Who is here and who is not here that needs to be?
  • Agenda available at Nebraska chapter page at
  • Explanation of conference call style and recording
    • No one is required to speak up, but there will be opportunities to do so.
  • Thank you for joining us for the Secular Coalition for Nebraska monthly conference call!
  • The Secular Coalition for America is the only 501(c)(4) lobbying organization representing secular and nontheistic Americans.
  • Based in Washington DC, we are working to make sure that you are heard on Capitol Hill, on the federal level, yet some of the most egregious violations of separation of church and state are being promoted and passed at a state level.
  • The Secular Coalition for America is forming state chapters across the country to bring together secular and nontheistic Americans in each state to lobby on secular issues.


State Government 

  • Capital city is Lincoln
  • Governor Dave Heineman
    • Republican, first elected in 2006, term limited out of running for re-election
  • Nebraska State Senate
    • Unicameral (only American state legislature that is unicameral)
    • In 2012, the State Senate was in session from January 4 through April 18th
    • 49 senators serving 4 year terms
    • There are no formal party alignments or groups within the Legislature. 
    • Nebraska uses a single nonpartisan primary election, in which the top two vote-getters are entitled to run in the general election.
    • 26 seats up for election in November
  • U.S. Senate
    • The election will fill the seat currently held by Ben Nelson (D). First elected in 2000, Nelson will not run for re-election in 2012.
    • Candidates: Bob Kerrey (D) and Deb Fischer (R)
    • Political reports list this race as a toss up
  • U.S. House of Representatives
    • Nebraska's 3 seats in the U.S. house are up for election in November
    • Currently all 3 seats are held by the Republican Party



  • NE LB 461- Would expand religious refusal laws for health care providers.
    NE LB 990 – Would require public school students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance with the phrase “Under God."
  • National issues sweeping the states
    • Reframing discrimination as “religious freedom” or “religious liberty” 
    • Similar authorization of discrimination, this time by medical professionals with “Rights of Conscience” bills
  • Any other issues we should know?

Chapter Model Overview

  • A Secular Coalition for America state chapter is unlike any other nontheistic state organization—it brings together interested organization and individuals for the exclusive purpose of lobbying.
  • Relationship to the Secular Coalition
    • Chapters are part of the Secular Coalition
      • Don’t need to file any tax documentation
      • Covered under our C4 tax exemption
      • Have C4 Lobbying privileges to educate and lobby on ballot initiatives, legislation, regulations, meet with policymakers, etc.
        • Cannot “electioneer” – endorse or speak out against specific candidates
      • Nebraska Lobbying Rules: Lobbying means the practice of promoting or opposing for another person, as defined in section 49-1438, the introduction or enactment of legislation or resolutions before the Legislature or the committees or the members thereof, and shall include the practice of promoting or opposing executive approval of legislation or resolutions.
      • Lobbying Registration Information: 
      • Cost: $15 non compensated lobbyist, $200 compensated lobbyist
      • Online Link:
  • Chapters are representatives of the Secular Coalition for America
    • Same Mission- to increase the visibility of and respect for nontheistic viewpoints in the United States, and to protect and strengthen the secular character of our government as the best guarantee of freedom for all.
    • Similar Purpose - accomplish its mission through cooperation between local groups and coordinated state lobbying activities.
    • As lobbyists we must be the diplomats of the secular movement, always act respectfully and professional
    • We believe secular values are American values, we are nonpartisan and want to work with everyone
  • Fundraising
    • Fundraising challenges prevent chapter growth
    • Secular Coalition will do all the fundraising and provide all resources the chapter needs
    • Donations will go to the Secular Coalition for the benefit of the state chapters
  • Official Chapter Recognition
    • Once your state chapter is organized, the executive committee and a representative of the Secular Coalition will sign a memo of understanding officially recognizing the Secular Coalition for California and giving the group access to our resources.
  • Leadership / Executive Committee
    • No set number of members or roles
    • Flexible to availability and strengths of individuals who want to get involved
    • Examples of Helpful Skills: leadership skills, familiarity with local groups, monitor legislation, conduct lobbying visits, mobilize grassroots, IT or website knowledge, social networking familiarity, comfortable speaking with press
    • Interested? Email [email protected]
  • Volunteer List
    • Those who do not wish to be on the Executive Committee, but still want to play an active role and help out once there is work to be done, please email me [email protected].
  • Database
    • Sign up to receive action alerts to be part of a grassroots campaign when particular issues arise. Sign up online here.
  • Secular Coalition’s Support for the Chapters
    • Conference Calls
      • Initial organizing calls focus on setting up the structure, identifying leadership, discussing how the legislature in Nebraska operates and the best ways to meet the needs of the Secular Coalition for Nebraska
      • Future monthly calls will become a way to educate and inform: track legislation, coordinate lobbying efforts and coordinate secular organizations.
      • Agendas available online
      • Call replays available online
    • Bill Tracking
    •  CQ Statetrack
      • Full bill text and details
      • Committee hearings calendar
      • Customizable reports
      • Automatic web publishing
    • Website
      • Temporarily:>States>Your State>Nebraska
      • Conference Call dates, time, numbers
      • Call replays and Agendas
      • Sign up to receive alerts
      • subdomain
      • Uses our template, but you will be able to update information
      • Technical set-up work still needs to be done, hope to have up soon
    • Use of our logo and name Secular Coalition for Nebraska
    • Email Address for Chair/Co-Chairst
    • Gmail Group Mailing List for leadership to discuss which issues they should address and to coordinate action
    • Facebook Page
      • Set up for each state
      • Will add leadership as admin, can schedule events
  • Future Resources
    • Promotional resources- brochures, stickers, buttons, handouts
    • Informational resources – Research, fact sheets and policy papers
    • Trainings and Guides – media and lobby trainings and guides
  • National Resources
    • Powerpoints –available at
    • National Secular Calendar – homepage
    • National Secular Update Weekly Conference Call
      • Thursdays at Noon 559-726-1300 Code 199568

Wrap Up

  • What the Secular Coalition is doing until the next call:
    • Getting resources in place
    • Researching technologies to assist in chapter coordination
    • Outreach
    • Identifying leadership and putting Executive Committee interested individuals in contact with each other
  • What you can do:
    • Email [email protected] if interested in leadership or volunteering
    • Sign up on our website to receive info and updates
    • Check out Nebraska’s state chapters page for updates
    • Like the Facebook page
    • Spread the word about the next conference call!


Next Conference Call Date and Time

  • November 19th at 3pm CT
  • Same call in number and code


Contact Information

  • Kelly Damerow
  • Research and Advocacy Manager, Secular Coalition for America
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Phone: 202-299-1091 ext. 204

Thank You!


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