Secular Coalition for Illinois Monthly Conference Call
Secular Coalition for America Illinois Chapter
Initial Organizing Conference Call Agenda
Call-in number: (530) 881-1400 Participant Access Code: 978895
Thursday, September 13th at 3:00 pm ET/ 2:00 pm CT
Who is here and not here that needs to be here?
Explanation of conference call style and recording
No one is required to speak up, but there will be opportunities to do so.
Agenda available at secular.org state page.
Thank you for joining us for this historic event. The inaugural Secular Coalition for Illinois monthly conference call!
Despite the fact that there are tens of millions of nontheistic Americans, we remain one of the most marginalized groups in the country.
The Secular Coalition for America is the only 501(c)(4) representing secular and nontheistic Americans.
The Secular Coalition for America is working to make sure that we are heard on Capitol Hill. We fight in Washington DC against religious privileging on a 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.
Our chapters will bring together secular Americans in each state to lobby on secular issues.
Capital city is Springfield
Pat Quinn, Democrat,
Became governor on January 29, 2009 after the impeachment of former Governor Rod Blagojevich
Elected to a full term in 2010
Illinois governors do not face any term limits
Illinois General Assembly
Currently in recess
2012 session began January 11
Illinois State Senate has 59 members which serve 4 year terms, Democratic Party controlled with 35 Democrats and 24 Republicans
Illinois House of Representatives has 118 members who serve 2 year terms, Democratic Party controlled with 64 Democrats and 54 Republicans
All seats up for election in November 2012.
A few examples of previous or current laws, general practice, or religiously-inspired legislation seen in Illinois that fall within the Secular Coalition for America's scope as an organization are:
IL HB 3774- Would amend the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act. Provides that: a child welfare agency that is religiously based or owned by, operated by, or affiliated with a bona fide religious organization may opt out of fulfilling a request for services, including an adoption or foster family home application, including any licensure and placement, which would constitute a violation of the organization's sincerely held religious doctrines or beliefs.
IL HJR 95- Would show support for the Illinois laws reserving the institution of marriage to one man and one woman. States the General Assembly's opposition to any efforts to extend the institution of marriage to 2 individuals of the same sex, whether by statute or by court decision. Urges the members of the General Assembly to adopt HJRCA 50, an amendment to the Illinois Constitution stating that "Only a marriage between a man and a woman shall be valid or recognized in Illinois".
IL HB 88- Would provide a property tax exemption for parking areas owned by any religious institution that meets the qualifications for exemption if the parking area is leased or rented to a municipality for free public parking. An example of religious privileging.
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
Does anyone know any legislation or regulation in Illinois we should be watching?
Overview of the State Chapter Model
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 SCA
Chapters are part of the SCA
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.
Fundraising challenges prevent chapter growth
SCA will do all the fundraising and provide all resources the chapter needs
Donations will go to the SCA for the benefit of the state chapters
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
Chapters are representatives of the SCA
As lobbyists we must be the diplomats of the secular movement
Nonpartisan, respectful, diplomatic
We believe secular values are American values
Official Chapter Recognition
Once your state chapter is organized, the executive committee and a representative of the SCA will sign a memo of understanding officially recognizing the Secular Coalition for Illinois and giving the group access to our resources.
SCA's Support for the Chapters
Initial organizing calls
Focus on setting up the structure, identifying leadership, discussing how the legislature in Illinois operates and the best ways to meet the needs of the Secular Coalition for Illinois
After Official recognition
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
The Illinois Legislature offers RSS feeds for bills and bill searching http://www.illinoistrack.us/legislation
Full bill text and details
Committee hearings calendar
Automatic web publishing
Temporarily: Secular.org>States>Your State>Illinois
Conference Call dates, time, numbers
Call replays and Agendas
Sign up to receive alerts
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 Illinois
Email Address for Chair/Co-Chairs
Executive Committee Chair's name at secular.org
Gmail Group Mailing List
For leadership to discuss which issues they should address and to coordinate action
Set up for each state
Will add leadership as admins
Can schedule events
Promotional resources- brochures, stickers, buttons, handouts
Informational resources - Research, fact sheets and policy papers
Trainings and Guides - media and lobby trainings and guides
Powerpoints -available at secular.org/resources
National Secular Calendar - secular.org homepage
National Secular Update Weekly Conference Call
Thursdays at Noon 559-726-1300 Code 199568
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
Illinois Lobbying Rules:
LOBBYING means any communication with an official of the executive or legislative branch of State government for the ultimate purpose of influencing any executive, legislative, or administrative action.
EXCEPTION: Persons who receive no compensation other than reimbursement for expenses of up to $500 per year while engaged in lobbying state government, unless those persons make reportable lobbyist expenditures.
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 Kelly@secular.org.
Sign up to receive action alerts to be part of a grassroots campaign when particular issues arise. Sign up online here.
What the SCA is doing until the next call:
Coordinating the lobbying needs of Illinois with best practices in organizational development and lobbying to create the best structure for Illinois
What you can do:
Contact us if interested in leadership
Sign up on our website to receive info and updates
Like the facebook page
Check out your state chapters page for updates
Spread the word about the next conference call!
Next Conference Call Date and Time
Thursday, October 11th at 3pm ET/2pm CT
Second Thursday of the Month
same call in number and code
My contact information
Research and Advocacy Manager, Secular Coalition for America
Phone: 202-299-1091 ext. 204