Secular Coalition for Louisiana Monthly Conference Call
Secular Coalition for America Louisiana Chapter
Initial Organizing Conference Call Agenda
Call-in number: (530) 881-1400 Participant Access Code: 978895
Wednesday, September 12th 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 Louisiana 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 Baton Rouge
Bobby Jindal, Republican first elected in 2007 and re-elected in 2011
Louisiana governors are restricted to two consecutive terms in office, after which they must wait one term before being eligible to run again.
Louisiana State Legislature
2012 session began March 12th and rant through June 4th
Louisiana State Senate has 39 members which serve 4 year terms, Republican controlled with 15 Democrats and 24 Republicans
Louisiana House of Representatives has 105 members who serve 4 year terms, Republican controlled with 45 Democrats, 58 Republicans, and 2 Independents
All seats up for election in November 2015.
A few example of previous or current laws, general practice, or religiously-inspired legislation seen in Louisiana that fall within the Secular Coalition for America's scope as an organization are:
The state's new wide-sweeping school voucher program will send tens of millions of dollars to private schools-the vast majority of which are religious institutions. Several of the schools boast extreme anti-science and anti-history curriculums while championing creationism. In fact, standards are so lax, that some private religious schools are receiving tax dollars to teach students that "dinosaurs and humans lived side by side within the past few thousand years" and that the existence of the Loch Ness Monster disproves evolution.
Louisiana Science Education Act (2008) - The "anti-science" law that allows creationism into public school science classrooms. A positive law, LA SB 374, would repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act.
Louisiana Revised Statutes 25:1281-1284 - authorizes court houses and public buildings to display documents that acknowledge "America's Religious History," including "the Ten Commandments as one of the foundations of our legal system.
LA SR 136 - Would recognize the first Thursday in May of each year as the State Day of Prayer at the Louisiana State Capitol.
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 Louisiana 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
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
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.
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
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
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 Louisiana and giving the group access to our resources.
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
Louisiana Lobbying Rules: Lobbyist means any person who receives compensation of any kind, including reimbursement of expenditures, to act in a representative capacity when one of the functions for which compensation is paid is lobbying and makes expenditures of $500 a year.
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].
Sign up to receive action alerts to be part of a grassroots campaign when particular issues arise. Sign up online here.
SCA's Support for the Chapters
Initial organizing calls
Focus on setting up the structure, identifying leadership, discussing how the legislature in Louisiana operates and the best ways to meet the needs of the Secular Coalition for Louisiana
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 Louisiana Legislature offers bill searching http://www.legis.state.la.us/session.htm
Full bill text and details
Committee hearings calendar
Automatic web publishing
Temporarily: Secular.org>States>Your State>Louisiana
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 Louisiana
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
What the SCA is doing until the next call:
Coordinating the lobbying needs of Louisiana with best practices in organizational development and lobbying to create the best structure for Louisiana
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
Wednesday, October 10th at 3pm ET/ 2pm CT
Second Wednesday of the Month
same call in number and code
My contact information
Research and Advocacy Manager, Secular Coalition for America
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 202-299-1091 ext. 204