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Newsletter
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1 Newsletter
Updated: 14 Sep 2010
The ACLU Nebraska newsletter helps those concerned with civil liberties in Nebraska stay informed of current events and opportunities to make a difference!  To recieve the newsletter in your mailbox, become a member today!
Activist Tools
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1 Tips on Contacting Your Elected Officials!
Updated: 03 Jun 2015

Not sure who your State Senator is? Use the Nebraska Legislature look up tool.

Want to follow your senator on Twitter? Check out our Twitter List!

Your elected officials need to hear from you. Whether it is a formal letter, a quick postcard, an email, or Facebook post policymakers depend on receiving information and guidance from their constituents and other citizens when deciding how to vote on important issues.

Keep it brief

The most powerful letters are sincere and written from your personal perspective and in your own words. Generallya few sentences or brief paragraphs are the most appreciated. Communications should be limited to one issue. Staff and policymakers read many communications on many issues in any given day so your letter should be short and to the point.

State Who You Are and What You Want Up Front

In the first sentence tell your elected official that you are a constituent. Identify your name and address. You should also clearly identify the issue about which you are writing. If your letters pertains to a specific piece of legislation, it helps to identify it by its bill number (LB ___) or simply state the issue in general terms.

Example: Dear Senator, My name is Jane Smith and I live in your district at 111 Anyplace Lane in Nebraska. I am writing to you about LB 5 to make our employment practices more fair. I urge you to support these values and this important bill.

Hit your three most important points

Choose the three strongest points that will be most effective in persuading policy makers to support your position and flesh them out. 

Example: I encourage you to support this bill because it impacts me and my family, it is important to our economy, and fairness is a value we all hold dear.

Personalize your letter

Tell your elected official why this legislation matters to you, your family and your community. Feel free to briefly share your personal story. Policymakers use these stories in debate and in making up their mind about how to vote. This is about educating your elected officials to see things from your point of view.

Personalize your relationship

Have you ever voted for this elected official? Have you ever contributed time or money to his or her campaign? Are you familiar with her through any business or personal relationship? If so, tell them. However, you don't have to big a big donor to make a big difference. In fact sincere personal stories are always the most powerful.

You are the Expert

Always be courteous and to the point. Don't be afraid to take a firm position. Remember policymakers are learning on the job too-you have a valuable experience and expertise that helps them learn and cast their vote wisely. Don't use all caps and don’t use profanity under any circumstances.

2 Tips on Writing a Letter to the Editor
Updated: 03 Jun 2015

Letters to the editor are great advocacy tools. After you write letters to your elected officials, sending letters to the editor can achieve other advocacy goals because they:

  • reach a large audience.
  • are often monitored by elected officials.
  • can bring up information not addressed in a news article.
  • establish broad grassroots support for or opposition to an issue.

Keep it short and on one subject.

Many newspapers have strict limits on the length of letters and have limited space to publish them. Typically aim for 200 words.

Make it personal.

Share your own story or experiences – don’t worry about trying to be an expert. Start by talking about who you are, then describe a problem or concern, then talk about a solution.

Send letters to weekly community newspapers too.

Policymakers usually monitor all publications in their district and its important your friends and neighbors hear about your ideas as well.

Be sure to include your contact information.

Many newspapers will only print a letter to the editor after calling the author to verify his or her identity and address. Newspapers will not give out that information, and will usually only print your name and city should your letter be published.

Make references to the newspaper.

Some papers print general commentary but many favor letters that refer to a specific article. Here are some examples of easy ways to refer to articles in your opening sentence: 

  • I was disappointed to see that The Post's May 18 editorial "School Vouchers Are Right On" omitted some of the key facts in the debate. 
  • I strongly disagree with (author's name) narrow view on women's reproductive rights. ("Name of Op-Ed," date) 
  • I am deeply saddened to read that Congressman Doe is working to roll back affirmative action. ("Title of Article," date)
  • Or for a general letter: I urge all Nebraskans to learn more about LB X an important bill pending in the Nebraska legislature that impacts our land and our water.

Where to submit your letter.

Omaha World Herald
1314 Douglas, Suite 700
Omaha, NE 68102
pulse@owh.com

Lincoln Journal Star
Editorial
P.O. Box 81689
Lincoln, NE 68501
oped@journalstar.com

Kearney Hub
13 East 22nd Street
P.O. Box 1988
Kearney, NE 68847
news@kearneyhub.com

Grand Island Independent
422 W. 1st St
Grand Island, NE 68801
newsdesk@theindependent.com

Hastings Tribune
Voice of the People
P.O. Box 788
Hastings, NE 68902
tribune@hastingstribune.com

Scottsbluff Star Herald
1405 Broadway
Scottsbluff, NE 69361
news@starherald.com

North Platte Telegraph
621 N. Chestnut
webmaster@nptelegraph.com

Columbus Telegraph
The People Speak
Columbus Telegram
P.O. Box 648
Columbus, NE 68602-0648
tellyson@columbustelegram.com

Beatrice Daily Sun
200 N. Seventh St.
Beatrice, NE 68310-0847
news@beatricedailysun.com

Fremont Tribune
Opinion Page
P.O. Box 9
Fremont, NE 68026
fremont.newsroom@lee.net

Norfolk Daily News
525 Norfolk Avenue
Norfolk, NE 68701
editor@norfolkdailynews.com

Sioux City Journal
Opinion
515 Pavonia St.
Sioux City, Iowa 51101 letters@siouxcityjournal.com

York News Times
327 Platte Ave
York, NE 68467

McCook Daily Gazette
W. First and E Streets
P.O. Box 1268
McCook, NE 69001

3 Know Your Rights with Law Enforcement
Updated: 06 Mar 2014
Know Your Rights with law enforcement!
4 Fighting for Fairness for the LGBT Community
Updated: 06 Oct 2012
Want a quick overview of laws that impact Nebraska's LGBT community? Check out this handout for the "need to know" info or this messagine tip sheet.
5 Bullying: Know Your Rights
Updated: 24 Aug 2011
In 2007, Nebraska passed a law requiring all school districts to have an anti-bullying policy. Learn what your rights are if you are being bullied in your school.
6 Are You Being Spied Upon?
Updated: 04 Dec 2009
Know how to get government records on domestic spying activities!  This primer on the Freedom of Information Act contains links to the best online resources we've found.
7 Former Felons Can Vote in Nebraska!
Updated: 14 May 2010
Nebraska law was recently changed so former felons can vote 2 years after they're done with their sentence, probation or parole.  Help get the word out by printing off brochures for distribution.
8 Repeal the Death Penalty!
Updated: 03 Dec 2009
Want to help repeal the death penalty but uncertain how to start helping as an individual?  Here's a handy toolkit with all the info you need in PDF form!
9 Students! Know your rights!
Updated: 22 Aug 2011
The answers to the most common questions about students rights are here in this 8 page brochure.  Download it and share with your friends!

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10 Host a Community Conversation!
Updated: 03 Dec 2009
This guide helps you create your own community conversation, a friendly, open way to discuss any difficult topic.  This particular sample is from ACLU Nebraska's recent work on the issue: "Help keep our children safe: in Douglas County Nebraska, STD rates are among the highest in the nation for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia. Why?"  Use this guide for any community conversation--or as a basis for information on our investigation into this STD epidemic in Omaha.
Reports & Research
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1 Know Your Rights: Funeral & After Death Decisions
Updated: 09 May 2014

Recently two women who were together for 10 years learned the one was terminally ill with cancer. She had her funeral arrangements in writing, and gave her partner the right to carry out her wishes. Upon her death, her partner went to a funeral home and in the midst of signing the contract to pay for all of the arrangements, learned that the funeral home director intended to allow the deceased woman's children make decisions about the funeral plans and how her remains would be handled. Luckily, the written directions describing the surviving partner's power were clear and an attorney was able to resolve the question that same day. However, if the woman had not made out her written directions, the law would have allowed the funeral home to take the surviving spouse's money but would have given all decision making powers to the children.

If you are in a same-sex relationship, use this form to name who will carry our your after-death wishes.

This information is also available in a PDF.

Every LGBT person should take the necessary steps to put their legal matters in order: that includes making a will, drawing up a power of attorney, and for finances, signing a living will, and leaving directions about your funeral plans. The reason it's important for people in same-sex relationships to have legal documents in place is because without them, your partner will not have any legal authority to handle these matters for you. This article will briefly describe one of the newest rights we all have under Nebraska law designating who will have the right to make your after-death arrangements.

Nebraska Revised Statute 38-1425 allows anyone, including your same sex partner, to be designated as having the right to make decisions about disposition of remains. "Disposition of remains" is an important issue, because it includes whether you'll be buried or cremated, where the burial will occur, ad who keeps the ashes if you are cremated. It may also include what sort of funeral service you have. The law allows you to leave these decisions to anyone you want, but the power must be granted in writing. You can do this at the same time as writing your will; just have an attorney to include a section about your wishes. Or, if you don't currently have a will be want to make sure you're protected in this area, use a form such as the one on the back of this fact sheet. The safest course is to have your wishes in writing AND in a will, but you should consult you attorney about this and other estate planning issues, as these are separate from Disposition of remains.

If you do not have a written will or a separate form, the law will choose who makes these after-death decisions for you. Even if your partner is named as your personal representative (or testator), they will not automatically have he right to dispose of your remains unless you leave written instructions. Without the form or will, Nebraska law looks at a list of your biological relations who have the right to step in after our death and take over all after-death arrangements. Without adequate planning, your partner could face a tragedy and be stripped of decision making power. Until we have equal rights of recognition of our relationships under the law, it is crucial for each of us to take what steps we can to protect our partners: making a written document naming who will carry out your after-death wishes is a simple but vital step.

2 Omaha STI Epidemic
Updated: 07 Oct 2010
There is an epidemic in Omaha. Is it allowed to continue because of unequal access to educational resources? Learn more about Omaha's sexually transmited infection epidemic in this presentation.
3 Do You have a Child in Foster Care?
Updated: 04 Dec 2009
If your family has become involved with Child Protective Services or the foster care system, you might have questions about your rights.  ACLU does NOT get involved in these sorts of cases, because everyone involved in the Juvenile Court System or charged with a crime has a right to an appointed attorney.  We have prepared this 4-page brochure with information to help you and your family, including information about how to get a free attorney if you can't afford to hire your own.
4 Barred from Hope: Jail Healthcare in Nebraska
Updated: 04 Dec 2009
Study of county jail healthcare crisis in Nebraska.
5 Prisoners with Disabilities
Updated: 04 Dec 2009
In December 2003, ACLU Nebraska issued a report calling for reform of Nebraska's correctional facilities at the state and local levels.  Their report detailed the many problems facing prisoners and pre-trial detainees who have medical needs, physical disabilities, and mental illness.  The report was distributed to every state senator and began our efforts to reform state laws.
6 Tasers in Nebraska
Updated: 04 Dec 2009
Summary on Taser use in Nebraska and recommendations a national law enforcement agency has made about Tasers.
7 No Second Chance: Nebraska Children Sentanced to Die in Prison
Updated: 04 Dec 2009
LB 843 in the Nebraska Legislature would abolish the sentence of life without parole for juvenile offenders.  Read our report about children in Nebraska who currently have no hope of ever being released from prison.
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