Bill Memos

S.2412-B, DeFrancisco / A.5285-A, Perry: In relation to establishing the Commission on Prosecutorial Conduct

Memorandum of Support

The above-referenced legislation would establish the Commission on Prosecutorial Conduct. This Commission would be modeled after the State Commission on Judicial Conduct and would establish acceptable standards and reasonable accountability for prosecutors as they carry out their duties and responsibilities.

The New York State Catholic Conference supports the establishment of the State Commission on Prosecutorial Conduct, and strongly urges enactment of this legislation. More

S.17-A, Hoylman / A.6959-A, Paulin: In relation to gestational surrogacy agreements or “collaborative reproduction”

Memorandum of Opposition

The above-referenced bill would undo New York’s longstanding prohibition of compensated surrogate parenting contracts. It would thereby encourage the buying and selling of children and the outsourcing of motherhood. The New York State Catholic Conference opposes this bill.

Currently, New York Domestic Relations Law declares surrogacy contracts contrary to public policy, void, and unenforceable. Vendors who assist in arranging such contracts are liable for up to a civil penalty of $10,000 and forfeiture of the fee received in brokering the contract; a second violation constitutes a felony.

Importantly, this policy was signed into law in 1992 by then-Governor Mario M. Cuomo, at the unanimous recommendation of the NYS Task Force on Life and the Law, with bipartisan legislative support and endorsements from advocacy organizations as disparate as the National Organization of Women and the State Catholic Conference. More

S.1070, Rivera / A.2705, Gottfried: In relation to establishing a sex education grant program

Memorandum of Opposition

The above-referenced legislation would establish a new dedicated funding stream for comprehensive contraceptive sex education programs for all age levels in New York State.

The New York State Catholic Conference opposes this bill.

This legislation would create a new funding mechanism to direct taxpayer dollars toward select organizations such as Planned Parenthood to ensure “comprehensive” sex education programs, promoting all contraceptive methods at undefined “age appropriate” grade levels. These programs would be in schools and other settings. More

S.159, Rivera / A.3693, Glick: In relation to additional state aid for Planned Parenthood clinics

Memorandum of Opposition

This bill seeks to make Planned Parenthood clinics in New York State eligible to receive funding from the Hospital Bad Debt and Charity Care Pool, which was established in 1983 to underwrite a portion of hospital losses associated with uncompensated care to the indigent and uninsured. The New York State Catholic Conference opposes this legislation and urges that it be defeated.

The recently enacted 2017-2018 state budget contains more than $20 million in state funding for “family planning services,” the vast majority of which will be appropriated to Planned Parenthood clinics. Additional state taxpayer funds flow to these clinics for “adolescent pregnancy prevention programs,” “health and sexuality-related programs,” sexually transmitted disease testing, and more. In addition to these line items, Planned Parenthood clinics enjoy expanded Medicaid eligibility for their clients, and, if adopted, newly proposed Department of Financial Services regulations will mandate cost-free insurance coverage for contraceptives and abortions. We respectfully suggest that additional moneys to this provider are not warranted. More

S.4063, Lanza / A.4296, Colton: In relation to teacher tax deduction for school supplies

Memorandum of Support

The above-referenced bill provides a personal income tax deduction up to $500 a year for school supplies paid for out of-pocket by elementary and secondary school teachers, principals and other personnel in public and non-public schools.

The New York State Catholic Conference supports this legislation. More

S.4016, Marcellino / A.1039, Nolan: In relation to continuing education requirements for certain individuals employed by nonpublic schools

Memorandum of Support

The New York State Coalition of Independent and Religious Schools SUPPORTS this legislation.

This measure seeks to ensure that continuing education requirements apply to all holders of professional certificates in the classroom teaching service, holders of level III teaching assistant certificates, and holders of profession certificates in the educational leadership or service regardless of whether they are employed by a school district, BOCES or nonpublic school. More

A7302, Cusick / S.5660, Lanza: In relation to the New York State Child Protection Act of 2017

Memorandum of Support

The above-referenced bill is an omnibus child protection initiative designed to protect children from sexual abuse, and to allow existing and future survivors of such abuse a longer opportunity to seek justice in both criminal and civil courts. The New York State Catholic Conference strongly supports this bill.

By eliminating the criminal statute of limitations for the prosecution of certain sex offenses, the bill enables prosecutors to hold abusers accountable for crimes committed now and in the future, bringing unprecedented new protections to victims of child sexual crimes. In addition, this bill extends the time for civil claims to be brought by survivors of child sexual abuse until they are 28 years old, thereby ensuring victims have sufficient time to hold abusers civilly accountable for their actions. Importantly, notice of claim requirements are amended under this bill to ensure that victims of child sexual abuse are able to bring civil claims against all abusers, including those employed by municipal entities. Unlike some other bills before the legislature, all victims are treated equally under this bill. More

A.2646-A, Simotas: In relation to an insurance mandate for in vitro fertilization

Memorandum of Opposition

The above-referenced legislation would require large group health insurance plans to cover the costs of in vitro fertilization (IVF), gamete and embryo transfers, and other assisted reproductive technologies.  The New York State Catholic Conference opposes this legislation.

While the Catholic Church empathizes with childless married couples yearning for the joys of parenthood, the Conference holds grave concerns with this insurance mandate.  These concerns include the legislation’s a) requirement for funding acts that destroy innocent human embryos, both inside and outside the womb; b) endorsement of technologies which promote the manufacture of human beings, contribute to the breakdown of family relationships, and interfere with the natural act of marital sexual intercourse; and c) lack of any conscience protection for religious employers and those with ethical objections to assisted reproductive technologies. More

A.5767, Errigo: In relation to restoration of the death penalty for the murder of a police or corrections officer, or a victim killed in an act of terrorism

Memorandum of Opposition

The above-referenced bill would reverse the 2004 New York State Court of Appeals decision which invalidated capital punishment (People v. LaValle), by changing the “jury deadlock” instruction to jurors.  This legislation would, therefore, restore the death penalty in New York State.

The New York State Catholic Conference urges you to oppose this legislation.

The Catholic Bishops of New York State and the country believe that capital punishment is not justified in contemporary society.  They seek a society of justice and peace, and urge elected officials to send the message that we can break the horrific cycle of violence without taking life for life.  More

S.4795, Lanza / A.1610, Rozic: In relation to segregated confinement of pregnant inmates

Memorandum of Support


This legislation would prohibit pregnant women and new mothers incarcerated throughout New York State from being placed in segregated confinement, also known as solitary confinement. The New York State Catholic Conference supports this legislation.

Both the U.S. Department of Justice and New York State recognize the problematic effects that excessive use of solitary confinement can have on an inmate. The U.S. Department of Justice in its Report and Recommendations Concerning the Use of Restrictive Housing states, “Women who are pregnant, who are postpartum, who recently had a miscarriage, or who recently had a terminated pregnancy should not be placed in restrictive housing.” The U.S. Department of Justice further suggests that even in exceptional circumstances when segregated confinement is used due to a severe and immediate threat to the safety of others, that those placed in segregated confinement should be reassessed daily and moved from such confinement as soon as it safe to do so. New York State, in settling the class action case of Peoples v. Fischer, also recognized that the criminal justice system needed to reduce the frequency, duration, and severity of the utilization of solitary confinement for everyone incarcerated in the prison system. More