California Initial Organizing Conference Call Agenda

Wednesday, June 27th at 4:00PM ET
Call-in Number: (530) 881-1400
Participant Access Code: 978895

 

  • Welcome message
    • Introduction and explanation of conference call Q & A
    • Thank you for joining us for this historic event. The inaugural Secular Coalition for California monthly conference call!
    • Background about me
    • 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 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 influence government officials, legislation, and regulations.
    • Our first step in forming these chapters is our monthly conference calls.
  • Goals/Stages of Chapter Development
    • Development Stage
      • Focus on setting up the structure, identifying leadership, identifying how the legislature in California operates and the best ways to meet the needs of the Secular Coalition for California
      • On these initial calls we will be discussing the mission, purpose, and goals of the SCA chapters, the resources SCA can provide to SCA Chapters, the secular lobbying needs of your state, and the organizational structures of the chapters including leadership positions. No one is required to speak up, but there will be opportunities to do so.
    • Official recognition
      • Once your state chapter is organized, the leadership and a representative of the SCA will sign a memo of understanding officially recognizing the Secular Coalition for California and giving the group access to our resources (to be discussed in more depth later)
      • Future monthly calls will become a way to educate and inform. They will focus on identifying and tracking legislation and regulations that affect the secular nature of state or local governance, or affect nontheists; and coordinate grassroots and in person lobbying efforts
  • SCA Chapter Model
    • A Secular Coalition for America state chapter is unlike any other nontheistic state organization -- it brings together interested organizations and individuals for the exclusive purpose of lobbying government officials. 
    • Past efforts to establish state chapters
      • More support for state volunteers by making it easier and more efficient
      • Past funding challenges
    • New chapters are under the umbrella of the national organization
      • Part of the Secular Coalition for America 
      • Under our C4 tax exemption
      • Full C4 lobbying privileges
    • Mission and Purpose of the Chapters
      • Mission - The Secular Coalition for California and the Secular Coalition for America share the common 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. 
      • Purpose - to accomplish its mission through cooperation between local groups and coordinated state lobbying activities
    • Coalition Style
      • Narrow mission and purpose
      • We are the diplomats of the secular movement
    • Coalition members
      • Every person and organization that can fully support our mission we invite to be a part of the Secular Coalition for California, which is just a show of support for the lobbying activities of the coalition
  • Executive Committee
    • No set number of members, looking for special skills or desire to get involved
    • Opportunities available: communicate with national, network with local groups, monitor legislation, conduct lobbying visits, mobilize grassroots, IT knowledge
    • Potential roles: Co-chairs, communication chair, legislative chair
    • Lobbying Rules for California:
      • LOBBYING: communicating directly or soliciting others to communicate with any official or his staff in the legislative or executive branch of government or in a quasi-public agency, for the purpose of influencing any legislative or administrative action
      • LOBBYIST:  an individual who is compensated for the above activity
      • Registration: Lobbyists must register; for registration during the first year of a two-year legislative session, $50; during the second year, $25.
  • Legislation/Regulation Update
    • Governor
      • Jerry Brown, Democrat elected in 2010 (previous terms served 1975-1983); California governors can only serve 2 terms in a lifetime, but because law was enacted after he had served (1990), was “grandfathered in.” Eligible for 1 more term.
    • California State Legislature
      • Full title: The California State Legislature
      • Full time legislature, currently in session
      • Session ends August 31st
      • Senate has 40 members which serve 4 year terms (no more than two). Democratically controlled. With 25 Democrats and 15 Republicans
      • The House of Representatives has 80 members who serve 2 year terms (no more than three). 52 Democrats and 28 Republicans. Democratically Controlled
      • All seats up for election in November 2012.
    • State Legislation
      • Opening California Assembly with a prayer: “In the order of procedure, the California assembly will begin each session with a prayer and then pledge to the flag.” (Standing Rules of the Assembly for the 2011-12 Regular Session)
      • Failing to protect children from religiously-inspired neglect: “If a parent provides a minor with treatment by spiritual means through prayer alone in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination, by a duly accredited practitioner thereof, such treatment shall constitute ‘other remedial care’…” (PENAL § 270)In January the California Department of Human Services issued a rule that opens the door to religious instruction at state-funded pre-schools, as long as it occurs outside of a prescribed seven-hour period of required instruction – a clear deviation from federal case law.
      • 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 California we should be watching?
  • Initial Organizing Resources
  • Eventual 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 Update
    • Powerpoints
    • National Secular Calendar
    • National Secular Update Weekly Conference Call
      • Thursdays at Noon 559-726-1300 Code 199568
  • Media
    • We are looking for a supporter in California to be our media contact
      • Press interested in our chapters would like to speak with people involved in the forming of the Secular Coalition for California
  • Development
    • Why are we centralizing development?
  • Who is not here that needs to be here?
  • What we are doing until the next call:
    • Coordinating the lobbying needs of California with best practices in organizational development and lobbying to create the best structure for California
    • Comparing communications and bill tracking methods
    • Identifying leadership
  • What you can do:
    • Contact us if interested in leadership
    • Contact us if interested in being media point person
    • Sign up on our website to receive info and updates
    • Check out the state chapters page for updates
    • Spread the word about the next conference call!
      • Next Conference Call Date and Time
      • July 25th, 4-5PM ET; same call in number and code
  • My contact information
  • Thank you!

 

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