Secular Coalition for Maryland Monthly Conference Call
Secular Coalition for America Maryland Chapter
Initial Organizing Conference Call Agenda
Call-in number: (530) 881-1400 Participant Access Code: 978895
Tuesday, September 11th at 2:00 pm ET
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 secular.org state page.
Thank you for joining us for this historic event. The inaugural Secular Coalition for Maryland 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.
Martin O'Malley, Democrat elected for his 2nd term in 2010
Maryland General Assembly
Full title: The Maryland State Legislature
2012 session ended April 19th, 2013 session begins in January
Senate has 47 members which serve 4 year terms, Democratically controlled with 35 Democrats and 12 Republicans
The House of Representatives has 141 members who serve 4 year terms, Democratically controlled with 98 Democrats and 43 Republicans
All seats up for election in November 2014.
A few examples of previous or current laws, general practice, or religiously-inspired legislation seen in Maryland that fall within the SCA's scope as an organization are:
MD HB 728 - Would add a new section to the Maryland Constitution to establish that only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid in the State; and submitting the amendment to the qualified voters of the State for their adoption or rejection.
MD HB 828 - Requiring the Governor annually to proclaim March 1 as Saint David's Day; and making the Act an emergency measure.
MD HB 847- Would require the Motor Vehicle Administration to develop and make available a specially designed registration plate using the phrase "In God We Trust".
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 Maryland 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 Maryland and giving the group access to our resources.
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
Maryland Lobbying Rules: A lobbyist "communicates with an official or employee of the Legislative Branch or Executive Branch in the presence of that official or employee; and, exclusive of the personal travel or subsistence expenses of the entity or a representative of the entity, incurs expenses of at least $500 or earns at least $2,500 as compensation for all such communication and activities relating to the communication during the reporting period; or earns at least $5,000 as compensation for all such communication and activities relating to the communication during the reporting period"
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
Initial organizing calls
Focus on setting up the structure, identifying leadership, discussing how the legislature in Maryland operates and the best ways to meet the needs of the Secular Coalition for Maryland
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
The Maryland Legislature offers bill tracking at http://mlis.state.md.us/#prof
Full bill text and details
Committee hearings calendar
Automatic web publishing
Temporarily: Secular.org>States>Your State>Maryland
Conference Call dates, time, numbers
Call replays and Agendas
Sign up to receive alerts
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 Maryland
Email Address for Chair/Co-Chairs
Executive Committee Chair's name at secular.org
Gmail Group Mailing List
For leadership to discuss which issues they should address and to coordinate action
Set up for each state
Will add leadership as admins
Can schedule events
Promotional resources- brochures, stickers, buttons, handouts
Informational resources - Research, fact sheets and policy papers
Trainings and Guides - media and lobby trainings and guides
Powerpoints -available at secular.org/resources
National Secular Calendar - secular.org 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 Maryland with best practices in organizational development and lobbying to create the best structure for Maryland
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
Tuesday, October 9th at 2pm ET
Second Tuesday of the Month
same call in number and code
My contact information
Research and Advocacy Manager, Secular Coalition for America
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 202-299-1091 ext. 204