Secular Coalition for Louisiana Monthly Conference Call


Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 15:00 - 15:30
Call In Details: 
Phone Number: 530-881-1400 Participant Code: 978895

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


Welcome message

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 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.

State Government

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

Currently adjourned

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.

Church/State Violations

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.


Executive Committee

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.

Volunteer List

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

Conference Calls

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

Bill Tracking

The Louisiana Legislature offers bill searching

CQ Statetrack

Full bill text and details

Committee hearings calendar

Customizable reports

Automatic web publishing


Temporarily:>States>Your State>Louisiana

Conference Call dates, time, numbers

Call replays and Agendas

Sign up to receive alerts subdomain

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

Gmail Group Mailing List

For leadership to discuss which issues they should address and to coordinate action

Facebook Page

Set up for each state

Will add leadership as admins

Can schedule events

Future 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 Resources

Powerpoints -available at

National Secular Calendar - 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

Identifying leadership

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

Kelly Damerow

Research and Advocacy Manager, Secular Coalition for America

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 202-299-1091 ext. 204

Thank You!



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