National Secular Movement Update Call

Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 12:00 - 13:00
National Secular Movement Update Newsletter and Call
Call Every Thursday at Noon (EST)
Phone Number: 559-726-1300 Code: 199568

June 14th, 2012
White House and Congressional Update:

  • House of Representatives:  House in recess this week, in session the next two weeks. The House majority is labeling next week “Energy Week”. They may bring to the floor bills on drilling and domestic energy production, as well as possibly appropriations on agriculture or transportation and housing. The House may also consider the Financial Services appropriations bill. This bill includes funding for the D.C. School voucher program. In July the House majority is expected to bring bills related to taxes, including extensions of the Bush Tax Cuts, to the floor. 
  • Senate: Senate in session this week and next week. Expected to be focused on the Farm Bill for 1-6 weeks. Next are most likely moving on to the Flood Insurance bill.  Very unlikely any Senate appropriations bills will come to the floor with the possible exception of Military-Construction/Veterans Appropriations bill. NDAA (Defense authorization) is a distant possibility in July but not likely.
  • White House:    President still focusing on the “to-do” list for Congress. The Student Loan interest rates will still be a topic as will the coming expiration of the current Highway bill extension.  On Tuesday, the President attended campaign fundraisers in Baltimore and Philadelphia. On Wednesday, the President awarded the Israel President Peres the Presidential Metal of Freedom at a White House dinner.  Today, President Obama will give a major economic  speech at a political event in Cleveland, Ohio.  Vice President Biden on Friday will address the U.S. Conference of Mayors.  
  • Campaigns and Conventions:  Democratic National Convention is September 4-6 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Republican National Convention is August 27-30 in Tampa, Florida.  Contacts established with Romney and Obama campaigns.  On Wednesday, Mitt Rommney addressed the Business Round Table in DC, a group of CEOs.    
  • Supreme Court: Decision expected any day regarding if Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (i.e. the individual insurance mandate) is constitutional.

Events and Calendar
The National Secular Calendar is on the Secular Coalition Website Homepage.  The calendar will include major secular events, state chapter calls, Secular Coalition speeches, and national secular calls.  If you have an event to add, or questions, please e-mail [email protected].

Meet the Secular Coalition!

  • June 16th, 2012: President Herb Silverman Speaking to the Humanist of Houston
  • June 22nd, 2012: Executive Director Edwina Rogers Speaking at HUUmanist Annual Meeting
  • July 6th, 2012: Executive Director Edwina Rogers Speaking at Secular Student Alliance Annual Leadership Conference

Upcoming Conferences and Events

Legislative and regulatory update calls
We will have every other week on Tuesdays at 2pm a call featuring federal policy decision makers.  Speakers will include Democratic and Republican House and Senate Staff members, Department of Defense, Education, and Health and Human Services policy officials.  We expect to feature at least one decision maker per call.  

Next call will occur Tuesday, June 26th, 2pm (EST) and the following one will be on Tuesday, July 10th at 2pm (EST)
These calls are open to donors and member organization staff.  Current donors will receive an invitation; if you are interested in participating in these calls, please donate today!  

In the News
Are there any upcoming issues or events that the movement needs to coordinate press around?
Secular Coalition In the News

Alerts, Press Releases, and Blog Posts

Other News

Legislative and Regulatory Update

  • We met with staff from Congressman Rob Dold (R-IL) (David Stern, LD) and Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA) (Ilana Brunner, LD).
  • Public Comment Period-HHS Preventive Service mandate accommodations. SCA is submitting comments. Comment period closes June 19.
  • The Senate HELP Committee held a hearing on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). The Minority witness was Gary Parshall of the National Religious Broadcasters who feels that the religious exemption in the bill is too vague.
  • At the end of April, the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships issued guidance on the "Fundamental Principles and Policymaking Criteria for Partnerships” Executive Order. The working group’s report can be viewed here: CARD has a meeting with White House staff on June 27 to go over the report. Chris will be attending.
  • SCA joined the National Coalition for Public Education (NCPE) in sending a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee asking that they zero out funding for the DC School Voucher program in Financial Services Appropriations bill.
  • We have reached out to the staff person leading the International Religious Freedom Caucus in the House for a future meeting.
  • We will also be reaching out to staff from Reps. Nadler, Van Hollen, and Stark and Senators Durbin and Reed.

State Legislative and Regulatory Update

  • North Dakota – Measure 3 was a "religious freedom law" pushed by conservative and Christian groups that would have protected religious practice from government mandates. It failed 65 to 35 percent
  • Washington- Referendum 74  to “Preserve Marriage Washington” has forced a ballot initiative on a same-sex marriage law already passed by the state government. Will be on the ballot in November.
  • Missouri - SB 749 attempts to supersede federal law and deny access to birth control and sterilization for women that work for an employer that has a moral/religious objection to birth control. Currently on the governor's desk.

State Chapters
Our phase one states are off to a great start! We generated a lot of buzz in those states and have some amazing candidates for chapter leadership.  We are working on getting the chapter websites up and running, but until then we encourage people to “like” the Facebook pages of their state chapter, listed as “Secular Coalition for [State]. Please spread the word about the next conference calls for phase one states. Get the latest updates and sign up to receive emails about the chapter forming in your state on the state chapters page on our website.
Call in number and code (always the same!)  530-881-1400   code: 978895

Second Calls for Phase I States

  • Alabama - Friday, July 6th at 1pm ET/ Noon CT
  • Arizona - Monday, July 2nd at 3pm ET/ Noon Arizona time
  • Colorado - Tuesday, July 3rd at 3pm ET/ 1pm MT
  • Connecticut - Wednesday, August 8th at 1pm ET
  • Hawaii - Tuesday, July 3rd at 5pm ET/ 11am HAST
  • Kentucky - Wednesday, August 8th at 3pm ET/2pm CT
  • Massachusetts - Thursday, August 9th at 2pm ET
  • Michigan - Wednesday, August 8th at 2pm ET/1pm CT
  • Pennsylvania - Tuesday, July 3rd at 2pm ET
  • Virginia - Tuesday, July 3rd at 1pm ET

Announcing the dates and times of the initial organizing conference calls for phase 2 states!
Phase II

  • Arkansas    6/28/12, 1:00 PM ET (12:00 PM CT)
  • California    6/27/12, 4:00 PM ET (1:00 PM PT)
  • Florida    6/26/12, 1:00 PM ET
  • Georgia    6/26/12, 2:00 PM ET
  • Missouri    6/28/12, 2:00 PM ET (1:00 PM CT)
  • Montana    6/26/12, 4:00 PM ET (2:00 PM MT)
  • Rhode Island    6/27/12, 3:00 PM ET
  • South Carolina    6/27/12, 2:00 PM, ET
  • Texas    6/26/12, 3:00 PM ET (2:00 PM CT)

Thank you to our member organizations for spreading the word to your affiliate organizations. Please continue to do so for our phase 2 states! Please contact Kelly Damerow with any contacts you have in our phase 2 states! (Email: [email protected] ; P: 202-299-1091 ext:204)

Here are the remaining phases of the state chapter roll out. We will be releasing the exact call dates and times for future phases approximately two weeks before the calls are scheduled to begin.

  • Phase 3 (July 16- August 3) - Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Washington  
  • Phase 4 (August 6- 17) -  Alaska, Delaware, District of Columbia, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin
  • Phase 5 (August 20-31) - Indiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, West Virginia, Wyoming

Policy and Research Documents

  • Powerpoints are now available on the website.  These speech will be free and available to everyone in the movement.  Others will be coming soon!
  • The Secular Coalition is looking for helpful research papers, to link to from our website and to determine where additional research needs to be done.  If you are aware of any, please send information to [email protected].

Coalition Expansion

  • Coalition expansion drive underway!  We are looking to add Endorsing and Allied organizations through additional website sign up opportunities and meetings.  Please recommend any non-movement groups we should meet with to discuss common ground.  

Member Organization Announcements

Contact Information

Secular Coalition for America
1012 14th St. NW, Suite 205
Washington, DC 20005

To sign up for newsletters, call announcements, and action alerts please visit our website.

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