Massachusetts Initial Organizing Conference Call Agenda

Thursday, June 7th at 2:00PM 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 Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts operates and the best ways to meet the needs of the Secular Coalition for Massachusetts
      • 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 Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts, 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 Massachusetts:
      • LEGISLATIVE LOBBYING: any act to promote, oppose, influence or attempt to influence legislation, or to promote, oppose or influence the governor's approval or veto thereof including
      • Legislative lobbying shall include strategizing, planning and research if performed in connection with or for use in an actual communication with a government employee.
  • Legislation/Regulation Update
    • Governor
      • Deval Patrick, Democrat elected in 2006, there are no term limits for governors in Massachusetts
    • Massachusetts General Court
      • Full title: the Great and General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; meets in Boston
      • Full time legislature, 2012 Session began on January 4th and is still in session. Formal sessions end July 31st, but there is no limit on informal sessions 
      • Senate has 40 members which serve 2 year terms. Democratically controlled. With 35 Democrats, 4 Republicans, and 1 vacancy.
      • The House of Representatives has 160 members who serve 2 year terms. 127 Democrats and 33 Republicans. Democratically controlled.
      • All seats up for reelection in 2012.
    • State Legislation
      • Great things happening, but we can always do more
      • Court ruling that DOMA is unconstitutional
      • 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 Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts
  • 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 Massachusetts with best practices in organizational development and lobbying to create the best structure for MassachusettsMT.secular.org
    • 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
      • August 9th, 2-3PM ET; same call in number and code
  • My contact information
  • Thank you!

 

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