State of the States: February 12

State of the States: January 8
States of the States
 – Your weekly digest on the secular movement in the states. 

State Campaigns

Put Kids First
Our campaign states are out educating the commmuniy about nonmedical vaccine exemptions. Please help us spread the word about #PutKidsFirst on Twitter and “Like” the Put Kids First Facebook page here!

State Media Coverage

Darwin day
Happy Darwin Day! The Secular Coalition sent out a press release yesterday commending lawmakers who put science above politics, while expressing disappointment in the Governors in Connecticut, Georgia, and Michigan, where our state chapters' requests for Darwin Day Proclamation were denied. 

There are two Resolutions reocgnizing Darwin Day in the House and Senate. Both recognize Charles Darwin's contributions to science, affirm the importance of the theory of evolution, and condemn the teaching of creationism in public schools! Please take a moment to stand up for science education! Take action, share, and spread the word!


State Legislative Update

Action Alerts 
If you are registered to vote in one of these states, please take action! Not signed up for Action Alerts? Make an impact in your state by signing up today


Action Alert! Stop Georgia from legalizing religiously based discrimination

The misnamed “First Amendment Defense Act of Georgia” (SB 284) would legalize discrimination under the guise of religious freedom while denying victims of religiously-based discrimination a legal recourse for justice.

If this bill passes, any individual, corporation, public or private organization of any kind could discriminate against same-sex couples, unmarried mothers, and their children by citing a "sincerely held belief" in the "union one man and one woman or that sexual relations are properly reserved to such marriage." Take action today


Action Alert! Urge your legislators to oppose religiously-based discrimination 
Action Alert! Fight back attacks on reproductive healthcare
Action Alert! Support the ban of practicing "conversion therapy" on LGBT youth

Florida House Bill 401 would allow any person, hospital, physician, nurse, pharmacist, for-profit company, business, organization, day care center, or privately held adoption agency to refuse to provide products or services based on religious belief, protecting them from legal liability for discriminating. Instead of promoting religious freedom, this bill legalizes religiously based discrimination and denies victims of discrimination a path to justice. Take action.

Reproductive health care is under attack in Florida. Several extreme anti-choice bills have been introduced, including HB 865, the Florida Right to Life Act, which includes references to a "Creator" and language urging the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. This bill was recently voted favorably out of the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee and is now being considered by the House Justice Subcommittee. Take action on these extreme bills now

SCFL supports two new bills, including SB 258, which would ban conversion therapy, and HB 4019, which strikes language from Florida's existing laws defining marriage as a union excuslusively between a man and a woman. 


New York
Action Alert! Tell the Senate Health Committee to support the New York End of Life Options Act. 

The New York End of Life Options Act (S 3685) would allow terminally ill, mentally-competent adults to choose the time and manner of their own death by requesting life-ending medication from their physician. The fiercest opponent of initiatives to legalize the right to die has been the Catholic Church, which has spent millions to spread misinformation and fear surrounding this issue. The bill is currently sitting in the Senate Health Committee.


Other legislation worth noting

Governor Terry McAuliffe issued a historic Darwin Day Proclamation in Virginia! Special thanks to chapter volunteer, Susan Quilty, for submitting the proclamation request to the Governor's office. 

SB41 is an unnecessary bill reaffirming no one can force clergy to solemnize a marriage. Clergy already have such protections, making this bill an affirmation of Virginia's support for discrimination. This bill has passed committee.

HB43 repeals the requirement that a women undergo an ultrasound prior to an abortion procedure; this bill has not yet been schedule for a vote in the House.

HB5 repeals the bans on same sex marriage and same sex civil union in Virginia; this bill has passed committee.

HR 19 is an attack on reproductive rights claiming that a human life "commences at conception" and that Roe v Wade is based on false science. It has been assigned to the House Subcommittee on Constitutional Law. 

HB43 is like SB41 in Virginia an unnecessary bill reaffirming no one can force a clerk into sacralizing a marriage. This is already implemented and this bill reaffirms the will of discrimination by the state of Virginia. This bill has currently passed committee.

On the Calendar

February 15 - Susan B. Anthony Day

February 15 - Presidents' Day

February 17 - Giordano Bruno Executed

February 20 - World Day of Social Justice


Upcoming State Calls

Secular Coalition for Utah: Monday, Feburary 15 (10 am MST / 12 pm EST)

Secular Coalition for Illinois: Monday, February 15 (5:30 pm CST / 6:30 pm EST)

Secular Coalition for Florida: Wednesday, February 17 (6:30 pm EST)

Secular Coalition for Rhode Island: Wednesday, Ferbuary 17 (7:30 pm ET)

Secular Coalition for Maine  Friday, February 19 (5 pm ET)

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