SCA originally planned to launch the state chapters in several years, but is speeding up the expansion with hopes that the chapters will be up and running by the end of the year.
"Some of the most egregious violations of church state separation are being promoted and passed at the state level, and we absolutely must act to stop it," executive director Edwina Rogers said in a statement. "There are 40 million Americans who don't identify with any religion, but our political influence has been limited because we have not been organized. This year, that changes."
The state chapters will not have paid staff or office space and will rely on volunteers, SCA spokesperson Lauren Anderson Youngblood told the Alley. SCA is holding calls with activists across the country over the coming months to train them and to help organize them into formal chapters with leadership positions.
The decade-old SCA has focused its lobbying on the federal level. In addition to lobbying at the state level, the state chapters will report to the national SCA about issues in state capitols or even at the city level related to the separation of church and state.
SCA is also hoping that the state chapters will have an impact with the lawmakers who launch their careers in state legislatures before heading to Washington.
"When we get to lawmakers at the local level, not only are we going to help curb some of the most egregious legislation we're seeing, but we are also building relationships and working to educate legislators on our issues, before they even get to Washington," Rogers said.
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