Bill Memos

A.566 Jaffee / S.3791: Krueger: In relation to reproductive health care decisions

Memorandum of Opposition

The above-referenced legislation aims to prevent employers – whether private, non-profit, for-profit or religious – from exercising their religious freedom in the businesses they operate. For the reasons outlined below, the New York State Catholic Conference opposes this bill.

The fundamental purpose of this legislation is to remove any possibility of an employer making employment-related decisions based upon their religious beliefs. In the area of “reproductive health decisions,” the bill could therefore have the effect of repealing current protections in New York law (e.g., Executive Law Section 296[11]) that permit religious employers to take employment-related actions based on the religious principles upon which they are established or maintained. More

A.2705, Gottfried / S.1070, Rivera: 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.1093, Valesky: 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

S.2796, Krueger, or any state constitutional amendment: In relation to abortion expansion

Memorandum of Opposition

Printable PDF

The above-referenced legislation, S.2796 by Senator Krueger, has already passed the Assembly as A.1748. It is a dangerous and extreme expansion of abortion policy in New York State. In addition to this bill, the Governor has announced his intention to submit an amendment to the State Constitution to accomplish the same objectives. The New York State Catholic Conference opposes S.2796, as well as a state constitutional amendment, or any other proposal which expands late-term abortion and endangers women and infants in our state.

The reasons we oppose these proposals are outlined below. More

A.235 Gunther: In relation to ad valorem levies and special assessments on tax exempt real property

Memorandum of Opposition

The above-referenced bill would subject the thousands of not-for-profit institutions across New York to ad valorem levies and special assessments for fire protection services.

The New York State Catholic Conference opposes this legislation. More

A.3039, Moya / S.471-A Peralta: 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.2383 Paulin / S.3151 Savino: In relation to legalizing physician-assisted suicide

Memorandum of Opposition

Printable PDF here

The above-referenced bill would add a new section of the Public Health Law to allow physicians to prescribe lethal doses of medication for the express purpose of ending a patient’s life.

The New York State Catholic Conference opposes this bill for many reasons.

Legalizing physician-assisted suicide would:

  • Blur longstanding medical, moral and legal distinctions between withdrawing extraordinary medical assistance and taking active steps to destroy human life. The former removes burdensome or useless treatments, allowing nature to take its course, and allowing the patient to either live or die. The latter is the deliberate and direct act of making a patient dead.
  • Undermine the physician’s role as healer, forever alter the doctor-patient relationship, and lessen the quality of care provided to patients at the end of life. Patients are best served when medical professionals, together with families and loved ones, provide support and care with dignity and respect, not lethal doses of drugs. The American Medical Association continues to hold a strong policy position against physician-assisted suicide, which they say is “fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role” and would be “difficult or impossible to control.”
  • Lead to psychological, financial and other pressures for vulnerable persons to end their lives. In today’s era of health care rationing and cost-cutting, physician-assisted suicide could easily rise to the level of the most acceptable, and even expected, “treatment” for terminal illness. In 1994, Governor Mario Cuomo’s Task Force on Life & the Law released a report unanimously rejecting assisted suicide, and cautioned:

“No matter how carefully any guidelines are framed, assisted suicide and euthanasia will be practiced through the prism of social inequality and bias that characterizes the delivery of services in all segments of society, including health care. The practices will pose the greatest risks to those who are poor, elderly, members of a minority group or without access to good medical care. The growing concern about health care costs increases the risks. This cost consciousness will not be diminished, and may well be exacerbated, by health care reform.”

This particular legislation contains many of the same fatal flaws contained in previous versions:

  • it does not require screening, testing, or treatment for clinical depression;
  • it requires a physician to falsify the death certificate to list the underlying illness as the cause of death;
  • it similarly encourages insurance fraud by allowing beneficiaries to collect benefits following a suicide;
  • it allows non-NYS residents to access physician-assisted suicide; and
  • it contains absolutely no safeguards against coercion or abuse once the lethal drugs are in the patient’s possession.

Rather than assisting suicide, government should be consistent in its efforts to prevent suicide. It is illogical for the state to promote/facilitate suicide for one group of persons — calling the suicides of those with a terminal illness and a specific prognosis “dignified and humane,” while recognizing suicide as a serious statewide public health concern in all other circumstances, and spending enormous resources to combat it.

We urge the state to remove barriers and improve access to palliative care and hospice care for those in the final stages of terminal illness. Improved education and training of physicians in pain management, together with appropriate diagnosis and treatment for depression, would go a long way toward eliminating calls for suicide among the sick and the dying.

We strongly urge you to oppose this bill.

A.1378, 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

S.2721, Alcantara & Peralta / 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

Cusick: 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