Bill Memos

A.5885-A, Rosenthal (Same as A.8421, Rosenthal / S.6575, Hoylman / S.6722, Rules): In relation to civil and criminal changes to the statute of limitations in cases of child sexual abuse

Memorandum of Opposition

The Catholic Church has zero tolerance for sexual abuse and supports proposals in the New York State Legislature to extend the time allowed under the law to file criminal charges or civil lawsuits against those who abuse children.

Sexual abuse is a societal scourge. It knows no boundaries. Protecting children from sexual abuse and safeguarding the legal rights of victims requires a comprehensive approach. While the Catholic Conference strongly supports efforts to prospectively increase the criminal and civil statute of limitations for child sexual abuse, the above-referenced legislation is seriously flawed in that it contains a statute of limitations “window” to open up previously time-barred civil claims going back indefinitely against not only abusers themselves, but against their employers as well. Therefore, the Catholic Conference must strongly oppose this legislation.

This extraordinary provision would force institutions to defend alleged conduct decades ago about which they have no knowledge, and in which they had no role, potentially involving employees long retired, dead or infirm, based on information long lost, if it ever existed. To be clear, the sponsors’ intent is to allow claims from even the 1940s or 1950s to be resurrected. More

S.7863, Tedisco / A.10013, Crespo: In relation to notification to mothers of their right to bury their child

Memorandum of Support

The above-referenced legislation would require hospitals to notify mothers who suffer a natural miscarriage at any point in their pregnancy that they have the right to bury their child. The New York State Catholic Conference supports this bill.

Under current Public Health Law, a burial permit is required for the burial or other disposition of human remains resulting from a fetal death of 20 weeks gestation or above. The law is silent on providing such a permit in cases of fetal death which occur under 20 weeks gestation. More

A.10006, Paulin / S.4278, Ranzenhofer: In relation to chemical digestion of human remains

Memorandum Requesting Amendment

The above-referenced bill seeks to amend the definition of “cremation” under the Not-For-Profit Corporation Law to include “any other technical process.”

The New York State Catholic Conference opposes the prospect that this bill under the amended definition would allow for a process known as alkaline hydrolysis. More

S.5988-A, Lanza / A.6823-B, Paulin: In relation to the sex trafficking of children

Memorandum of Support

The above-referenced legislation would eliminate the need to prove force, fraud, or coercion beyond a reasonable doubt in cases of children who are prostituted for sex. This legislation builds on New York’s current anti-trafficking laws and gives prosecutors the tools they need to crack down on this horrendous crime, which is a grave assault on human dignity.

The New York State Catholic Conference supports this bill. More

S.6736, Valesky / A.6099-A, Lupardo: In relation to authorizing banks to protect vulnerable adults from financial exploitation

Memorandum of Support

The above-referenced legislation would authorize banking organizations to refuse to disburse moneys in circumstances where there is reason to believe that a vulnerable adult may be being financially exploited.

This legislation would allow, but not require, a banking institution to act to protect the financial assets of a vulnerable adult from theft or conversion by relatives or other caregivers. The elderly, those aged 65 and older, are the fastest growing segment in this country. They are vulnerable to varying types of abuse, including physical, psychological and financial. The proposed amendment to the Social Services Law would add a provision to the Adult Protective Services section to cover financial abuse. If a bank reasonably believes that financial abuse of a vulnerable person is occurring, they may refuse to honor the transaction and provide law enforcement or social service officials with documents relevant to the suspected financial exploitation. More

A.9957, Cahill: In relation to expanding contraceptive insurance coverage

Memorandum of Opposition

The above-referenced legislation, requested by the Attorney General, would expand current law to require increased insurance coverage for contraception, abortion-causing drugs, and voluntary sterilization. The New York State Catholic Conference opposes this measure.

In 2002, New York State lawmakers passed the “Women’s Health and Wellness Act” which requires insurance plans with prescription coverage to cover FDA-approved contraceptive drugs and devices, and provides insufficient protections for religious employers.

The legislation now before you would go further by mandating cost-free contraceptives, requiring that a 12-month supply of contraceptives be covered at one time, and including emergency contraception (EC), the so-called “morning-after pill.” We believe that enabling such large amounts of prescription medication, particularly in such high doses as emergency contraception, to get into the hands of young people is irresponsible and dangerous public policy. More

A7302-A, Cusick / S.5660-A, Lanza: In relation to the New York State Child Protection Act of 2018

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

S.2721, Alcantara / A.4189, Nolan: In relation to the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act

Memorandum of Support

The above-referenced legislation would address a number of the exemptions in New York’s labor, public health and workers compensation laws that currently prevent farmworkers from accessing rights and privileges available to other workers in New York State.

The New York State Catholic Conference supports the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act, and strongly urges enactment of this legislation.

Farmworkers are excluded from many of the laws that establish worker protections, including overtime pay, employer contributions to the unemployment and workers’ compensation funds, and public health protections including sanitation and housing standards.  In addition to ending these exclusions, this bill would require that farmworkers be given a 24-hour day of rest in every calendar week which, whenever possible, would coincide with the laborer’s traditional day for religious worship. More

S.471-C, Peralta / A.9605-A, De La Rosa: In Relation to New York State DREAM Act

Memorandum of Support

The above-referenced legislation would create the New York DREAM Fund Commission and would provide opportunities for immigrant students who meet certain criteria to be eligible for financial aid to assist them attend institutions of higher education.

The New York State Catholic Conference supports the New York State DREAM Act, and strongly urges enactment of this legislation.

The bill is an attempt to allow young people who have demonstrated a commitment to education and who are of good moral character to access financial aid opportunities without regard to immigration status, and would create a mechanism to raise money for college scholarships for the children of immigrants. Other states have passed similar legislation and New York State, with its history of welcoming immigrants, should be at the forefront of these efforts to support immigrant populations who have contributed so much to the vitality of our state. The chance to earn a higher education degree will allow these immigrant students to realize their potential and make a greater contribution to our economy. More

A.2674-A, Paulin / S.3793-A, Krueger: In relation to emergency contraception

Memorandum of Opposition

This bill would expand access to “emergency contraception” (EC) by allowing additional practitioners to prescribe it, requiring insurance coverage for any form of EC without cost-sharing, and requiring state DOH education and outreach about EC to school educators. The New York State Catholic Conference opposes this legislation. More