2018-19 Testimony on Women’s Agenda Article VII Legislation, S.7511 / A.9511

Testimony submitted by the New York State Catholic Conference to the Joint Legislative Hearing regarding the Health Care and Medicaid Budget, specifically about the Women’s Agenda Article VII Legislation (S.7511/A.9511) in the 2018-2019 Executive Budget.

February 12, 2018

Senator Young, Assembly Member Weinstein, and distinguished members of the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Committees:

This legislation seeks to enact a multi-faceted new “women’s agenda” which contains Parts A through M. We comment here on Part B of this legislation which the Executive states will “codify Roe v. Wade into state law to ensure that women can make personal healthcare decisions.” The Executive further states that enactment of Part B “is necessary to implement the FY 2019 Executive Budget.”

We disagree with the Executive’s analysis and strongly oppose Part B of this legislation. We find it to be a dangerous and unnecessary expansion of late-term abortion, and a leap into legalized infanticide. It should not be part of a budget proposal and it should not become law. We strongly urge you to oppose it.

Part B of this legislation is not a simple update of New York’s laws or codification of a court ruling. It would strip all mention of abortion from our state’s statutes, resulting in the following consequences. More

2018-19 Human Services Budget Testimony

Submitted by Michael A. Lawler, Director for Catholic Charities, New York State Catholic Conference, at the Joint Legislative Budget Hearing regarding the 2018-2019 Human Services Budget.

February 6, 2018

Senator Young, Assembly Member Weinstein, distinguished members of the Senate Finance Committee and the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, ladies and gentlemen:

My name is Michael Lawler and I am the Director of Catholic Charities for the NYS Catholic Conference. Thank you for the opportunity to share our thoughts on the FY 2019 Executive Budget as it pertains to Human Services.

On January 16, 2018, the Executive Budget for FY 2019 was released and the NYS Council of Catholic Charities Directors were disappointed that critical investments for the nonprofit human services sector were not included in the proposed spending plan. As the NYS Legislature reviews the executive proposal and formulates its own priorities for FY 2019, we want to reiterate that these concerns for the vulnerable be addressed in the enacted spending plan. More

2018-19 Education Budget Testimony

Testimony of James D. Cultrara, director for education of the New York State Catholic Conference, at the Joint Legislative Budget Hearing regarding the 2018 – 2019 Elementary and Secondary Education Budget

January 31, 2018


Quality education is fundamental in ensuring a promising future for our children, families, communities and our economy. For more than 200 years, the state’s Catholic schools have been providing an outstanding education to thousands of our state’s children, many of whom are not Catholic. Especially in our inner cities, Catholic schools continue to help bring children out of poverty. Parents, however, are finding it increasingly difficult to shoulder the dual burden of taxes to support public schools while paying tuition to support the education of their own children. The decline in enrollment and the resulting closing of Catholic schools over the decades is no surprise. Little attention, however, has been paid to the added cost to taxpayers.

While the Catholic Bishops are continuously forced to make the extraordinarily difficult decisions to close Catholic schools, it must be noted that no Catholic school has closed due to academic failure. This is something that cannot be said about either traditional public or charter schools. Nor have our schools been closed due to lack of desire on the part of parents to enroll their children. The loss of Catholic schools in New York State comes down entirely to the rising costs and the inability of parents to pay the increasing tuition needed to meet those costs. This has been a tragedy for the state, for the parents of those children who are enrolled and those who wish they could be, and for the children themselves.

More than 75 Catholic schools across the state were forced to close in the past seven years.  More than 300 have closed in the last 20 years. Most of the displaced students then enroll in the already over-burdened public school system at a far greater cost to taxpayers. The shift of enrollment from private to public schools over the last 20 years has increased the cost to taxpayers by more than $2 billion – each and every year! Unless something meaningful is done to support the education of children in religious and independent schools, this trend will continue to exacerbate the burden on taxpayers. But even more importantly, more and more children will be denied the opportunity to escape poverty and have a brighter future that the remarkable success of Catholic schools offers. More

Testimony regarding Child Victims Act in Executive Budget

Testimony of the New York State Catholic Conference submitted to the Joint Legislative Hearing regarding the  2018-2019 Public Protection Budget, specifically about the Child Victims Act.

January 30, 2018

Senator Young, Assembly Member Weinstein, and distinguished members of the Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Committees:

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, legislation put forward in the Executive Budget 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. The Catholic Conference strongly opposes this retroactive window. More