Weekly Update from the Secular Coalition for Arizona 2-7-14

Rep. Ruben Gallego Gives Secular "Prayer" on AZ House Floor
Representative Ruben Gallego took a personal point of privilege to deliver the following statement on the House Floor yesterday (February 6, 2014):
The purpose of our opening prayer is to ask for something important. I’m asking that whichever God you pray to or whichever value system inspires you, let’s stay focused on the work we came here to do.  

There are a lot of versions of the Golden Rule in a lot of religions and secular traditions. They all say we should treat people like we want to be treated.

Arizonans and their families want to be treated like their state government is here for them. They want to know we’re going to fight for them. That we’re making Arizona a place of prosperity and opportunities. Let’s practice the Golden Rule today and get to work.
Representative Mach welcomed Secular Students and Secularists to Arizona House of Representatives
During the same floor session that Rep. Gallego made the personal point of privilege, Rep. Mach welcomed and introduced her guests from the Secular Student Alliance and the Secular Coalition.  Thank you to Representative Mach for the warm welcome!

Join us for Secular Day at the Capitol!
We hope to see you on Tuesday, February 18, at 12:45PM as we celebrate Secularism at the Arizona State Capitol.  Show your support for Secular values and join us.  
Please RSVP by clicking here.
What: Secular Day at the Arizona State Capitol
When: Tuesday, February 18, 12:30PM-2:00PM
Where: Arizona House of Representatives Lawn, 1700 W. Washington, Phoenix
Legislative Update
HB2351 (discrimination bill which expands the definition of person in the free exercise clause to include corporations and businesses) passed through Government committee on a 6-2 party-line vote.  Next stop for this bill is the Rules committee.  
SB1062 (same bill as the HB2351 discrimination bil) has not yet been scheduled for Committee of the Whole.  Watch for an action alert on this one.
HB 2481 (bill that allows religious clergy to choose whether or not to perform a marriage ceremony) passed through Government committee on a 6-2 party-line vote.  Next stop for this bill is the Rules committee.

Action Alert: Ask the Ways & Means Committee to Vote NO on HB2281

We need your voice. Our legislature is using our tax code to institutionalize religion. This newest bill directly from the Center for Arizona Policy (CAP) is a legislative wrecking ball breaking through our constitutionally protected wall of separation between church and state. We won't let CAP be the only voice at the Capitol. Lend the strength of your voice to our collective Secular effort.  Ask the Ways and Means Committee to Vote "NO" on this bill.  Take action now!
Bill summary: 
Property, buildings, and fixtures, or any portion thereof, that are leased to a nonprofit religious assembly or institution and that are primarily used for religious worship are classified as class 9 property for property tax purposes.  Property, buildings, and fixtures owned by an educational, religious or charitable organization that are leased to a nonprofit religious assembly or institution and used primarily for religious worship are exempt from taxation.
Take action now!
**A Note on Action Alerts

What is an Action Alert?
An Action Alert is an email you will receive asking you to take action on a specific issue or bill. 
What information is provided in the Action Alert?
We'll provide you with the contact information for our action alert target, as well as basic talking points for your message.
Should I use my own words?  Yes, using your own words is highly recommended.  Just make sure to be polite, respectful, and to the point.
Why do I receive Action Alerts at the last minute? We will always try to do our best to give you as much time as possible to send your message to the targeted lawmakers.  However, sometimes we do not receive the information we need until the last minute, and therefore we cannot send it out to you until the last minute. 
Also, targeted actions are a strategic political advocacy mechanism.  Sometimes, it is best for us to try to kill the bill behind the scenes to keep the bill from being heard in committee, while other times it is best to take action in a very public and targeted way.   We apologize in advance if you receive an action alert at the last minute, and we appreciate your timely actions in respones to the Action Alert.

Thank you for your understanding and patience given these tenuous political factors.


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