Secular Coalition for Michigan Monthly Conference Call


Monday, November 19, 2012 - 14:00 - 14:30
Call In Details: 
530-881-1400 participant code: 978895


Secular Coalition for America - Michigan Chapter Conference Call
Call in number: 530-881-1400 Participant Code: 978895
Monday, November 19 at 2pm ET


Welcome Message

  • Who is here and who is not here that needs to be?
  • Agenda available at Michigan chapter page at
  • Explanation of conference call style and recording
    • No one is required to speak up, but there will be opportunities to do so.
  • Thank you for joining us for the Secular Coalition for Michigan monthly conference call!
  • The Secular Coalition for America is the only 501(c)(4) lobbying organization representing secular and nontheistic Americans.
  • Based in Washington DC, we are working to make sure that you are heard on Capitol Hill, on the 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 to bring together secular and nontheistic Americans in each state to lobby on secular issues.


State Government 

  • U.S. Senate
    • Incumbenet Debbie Stabenow (D) won re-election
  • U.S. House of Representatives
    • Heading into the November 6 election, the Republican Party held 9 of the 15 Congressional seats from Michigan. 
    • However, the state lost one seat after the 2010 census and elected 14 representatives.
    • After the election 9 of the seats are held by the Republican Party at 5 are held by the Democratic Party
  • Michigan State Legislature
    • Michigan State Senate
      • 38 senators serving 4 year terms
      • Senate (and gubernatorial elections) are offset by two years from U.S. Presidential elections 
      • Adjourned until Tuesday, November 27, 2012 10:00:00 AM
    • Michigan House of Representatives
      • Republican Party held a 63-47 majority
      • All 110 seats were up for election in November
      • Republican Party lost 4 seats, but still holds a 59-51 majority
      • Adjourned until Tuesday, November 27, 2012 1:30 PM



  • Michigan Atheists 26th Annual State Convention
    • December 1st 10am - 5pm
    • Clarion Hotel & Conference Center, 2900 Jackson Rd Ann Arbor, MI
    • Secular Coalition for America's Nathan Cox will be speaking
  • Pledge of Allegiance Law
    • Public Act 320 of 2012 (formerly SB 637/ HB 4934)
    • The following language was deleted from the bill before its final passage:
      • (2) The board of a school district or intermediate school district or board of directors of a public school academy shall ensure that each pupil in each public school it operates is
        required to recite the pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States each school day.
      • (3) A pupil shall not be compelled, against the pupil's objections or those of the pupil's parent or legal guardian, to recite the pledge of allegiance.
      • (4) The board of a school district or intermediate school district or board of directors of a public school academy, and the school administrator in charge of a school building, shall ensure that a pupil is not subject to any penalty or bullying at school as a result of not reciting the pledge of allegiance.
    • Positives: the final version has no requirement for the pledge to be recited
    • Negatives: even without the legislature requiring the pledge be said, many or most schools do start with it, removed from the bill were protections for studentswho do not recite it.
  • Any  issues we should know?

Chapter Model Overview

  • 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.
  • Leadership / 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
    • Co-Chair Duties: Scheduling state coalition meetings as necessary, Building relationships with local organizations and keeping them informed;  Scheduling and Coordinating trainings; Ensuring compliance with all SCA policies (listed in the chapter manual soon to be finished); Assisting with fundraising and ensuring donations are sent  to the SCA; Contact person for SCA Research and Advocacy Manager; Upholding the respectful, diplomatic, and non-partisan approach of the Secular Coalition
    • Communications Chair Duties: Official press releases; Letters to the Editor; Working with LD on action alerts; Coordinating messaging with SCA; Acting as spokesperson; Available for interviews or local speaking engagements; Draft action alerts with Leg. chair
    • Tech Chair Duties: Website updates and blog posts; Social media; Answering email; 
    • Legislative/ Policy Chair Duties: Monitoring legislation for our issues; Gatherings research; Drafting action alerts with Comm. Chair; Tailoring SCA lobbying materials to be state specific
    • Lobbying Chair Duties:  Conducting lobbying visits; Building relationships with legislators; Up to date on state lobbying registration requirements; Familiar with the legislative process;
    • Interested Individuals: Marty, Ruthe (research), Bonnie (media),  Chris, Marc, Deanna, Quinn, Victoria
    • Interested? Email [email protected]
  • 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].
  • Database
    • Sign up to receive action alerts to be part of a grassroots campaign when particular issues arise. Sign up online here.
  • Secular Coalition’s Support for the Chapters
    • Conference Calls
      • Changing call schedule in 2013 to add evening and weekend calls
      • Online communcaition tool in development
    • Bill Tracking
      •  CQ Statetrack - advanced legislation tracking service
      • Full bill text and details; Committee hearings calendar; Customizable reports; Automatic web publishing
    • Website
      • Temporarily:>States>Your State>Michigan
      • 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 in the next two weeks
    • Use of our logo and name Secular Coalition for Michigan
    • Email Address for Chair/Co-Chairst
    • Gmail Group Mailing List 
    • Facebook Page
      • Secular Coaltiion for Michigan is up!
      • Please "like," share, and update the page
  • 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

Wrap Up

  • What the Secular Coalition is doing until the next call:
    • Getting resources in place
    • Researching technologies to assist in chapter coordination
    • Outreach
    • Identifying leadership and putting Executive Committee interested individuals in contact with each other
  • What you can do:
    • Email [email protected] if interested in leadership or volunteering
    • Sign up on our website to receive info and updates
    • Check out Michigan’s state chapters page for updates
    • Like the Facebook page
    • Spread the word!


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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