The State Chamber’s history dates back to Nov. 14-15, 1912. That is when a meeting of business executives at the former Rome Hotel in Omaha founded the Nebraska Manufacturers Association. In 1937, the organization’s membership was broadened and its name changed to Associated Industries of Nebraska.
In 1960, the association helped organize the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce. Six years later, the two groups merged to become the Nebraska Association of Commerce & Industry (NACI). The NACI acronym was used for more than 20 years. At the organization’s 76th annual meeting, held in February 1988, members ratified the name change to the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce & Industry. This helped clarify that the organization was clearly Nebraska’s state chamber of commerce, while also upholding the organization’s roots and strong ties to the manufacturing sector.
Today, more than a century later, the Nebraska Chamber represents hundreds of corporate members statewide, with businesses of every variety and size as members. The State Chamber also has more than 60 local chambers of commerce as members, as well as dozens of state-level trade and professional associations.
Located a half-block from the historic Nebraska State Capitol, the Chamber’s staff works effectively with Nebraska lawmakers – as well as state agencies – on issues impacting business.
What we do best
When the Nebraska Legislature is in session, the State Chamber’s primary focus is on representing the business community on major issues before the unicameral. The Chamber’s registered lobbyists lead the organization’s efforts to educate state lawmakers on business-related legislation, ensuring that policymakers know the ramifications of bills being considered.
The State Chamber keeps its members regularly informed on legislative activities and bills that could affect the business community. Chamber members receive a weekly “Legislative Report” – a thorough summary of major bills, as well as recent actions at the capitol. The Chamber’s weekly legislative service contains specific information on crucial votes, in addition to the status of bills before the legislature, upcoming hearing dates and other pertinent information.
The State Chamber also keeps its members updated via its popular “News Update” (emailed to all members) and its newsletter – “The Executive” – as well as with email alerts on key votes. The Chamber employs timely methods to keep its members informed about the latest developments and to help them stay in touch with elected leaders.
The Nebraska Chamber’s Public Affairs Council, comprised of registered lobbyists of member companies and associations, meets every week during the legislative session to coordinate activity and share information vital to the business community. Local chambers of commerce take part in the State Chamber’s legislative conference calls held frequently during the session.
The State Chamber Annual Meeting and Nebraska Business Hall of Fame Banquet, held in the early weeks of the legislative session, allows members to discuss their priorities with the state’s decision makers.
After state lawmakers conclude their session, Nebraska Chamber members receive a complete summary of the session, a voting record examining key votes of all state senators, and information regarding important ongoing issues.
Every autumn, the State Chamber coordinates a series of legislative forums with approximately 30 local chambers of commerce across Nebraska. State senators and legislative candidates typically participate in these forums, and the Nebraska Chamber staff conducts a survey of local business leaders to gather their feedback on business conditions and concerns.
The State Chamber’s activities are not limited to the Nebraska Legislature only. The staff is also in close contact with Nebraska’s federal delegation and their aides. Every year, the Nebraska Chamber conducts a Washington, D.C., Fly-In, in which any State Chamber may participate. In addition, in recent years, the Nebraska Chamber has partnered with the Lincoln and Omaha chambers to host the popular Federal Legislative Summit at the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum near Ashland, providing the congressional delegation an opportunity to give a group update to the chamber community.
The State Chamber’s long history of accomplishments has been made possible by the interest and participation of its members. Whether by serving on the Nebraska Chamber Board of Directors or one of the Chamber’s policy councils, or simply attending a Chamber-sponsored event, member participation is a hallmark of the organization.
State Chamber policy councils meet to develop policies on issues affecting Nebraska businesses. The State Chamber Political Action Committee allows the State Chamber take a leadership role in state politics, focusing on recruitment and support of business-friendly candidates, while also helping energize the employees of Nebraska businesses to vote.