Bill Memos

A.6823-C, Paulin /S.5988-B, Lanza: 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 by sex traffickers who are age 21 or older. 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.1858-B, Bonacic / A.3088-B, Abinanti: In relation to authorizing summer camps to hire certain licensed professionals to provide services

Memorandum of Support

The New York State Catholic Conference supports this legislation that allows children’s overnight camps, summer day camps, and traveling summer day camps which serve children with special needs to contract with certain specified licensed health care professionals in order to better serve the mental and physical needs of children during their summer camp experience.

The State Education Department currently prohibits any licensed professional from practicing their profession while under the supervision of a non-licensed professional in that particular field. Chapter 214 of the Laws of 2012 partially remedied this issue by allowing camps to employ a physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, registered nurse, or licensed practical nurse or EMT.

This bill would permit camps to employ social workers, other mental health care professionals, and physical therapists to serve children with special needs at summer camps. Not allowing children’s camps to hire licensed professionals specially trained in these areas does a disservice to our children.

The New York State Catholic Conference supports this legislation to allow camps to offer the best possible service available to children that need them during their summer camp experience.

Re: A.9903 Cusick / S.8175 Marcellino In relation to the calculation of nonpublic school aid

Memorandum of Support

The above-referenced legislation would clarify that the State Education Department may continue to utilize the nearly four decades old “instructional time” standard as the basis for providing reimbursement to nonpublic schools for their participation in the mandated services aid program.

The New York State Catholic Conference supports this measure and strongly urges enactment of this legislation.

Mandated Services Aid (MSA) was enacted in 1974 as a way for the state to support nonpublic schools which educate nearly 500,000 students across the state. In the late 1970’s, the State Education Department established a series of “parameters” or formulas to simplify the administration of the program and to ensure the program was fair to both taxpayers and the nonpublic schools. One set of parameters called for the use of “instructional time” in determining the “average hourly rate” of the employees involved in complying with the various mandates. SED justified the use of instructional time because it is associated with the compulsory education requirement, has been used continuously over the years as the basis for aid to public schools and it provides consistency and predictability in aid to nonpublic schools. More

A.10427-A Barron, et al / S.8503 Parker: In relation to admission to the specialized high schools in the City of New York

Memorandum of Opposition

The above-referenced legislation would eliminate the current competitive and objective scholastic achievement test used for determining admission to the specialized high schools of the City of New York in lieu of a system of multiple subjective measures and quotas. Further, the measure also guarantees a considerable number of seats at such schools for 8th grade students attending only public schools, thereby creating a significant disadvantage for 8th grade students in religious and independent schools who would otherwise be eligible to attend such specialized high schools. This measure is discriminatory and counterproductive to real educational opportunity.

The New York State Catholic Conference opposes this legislation.

On the surface, this measure appears to be intended to expand educational opportunities for educationally disadvantaged students by effectively guaranteeing seats for such students at the city’s specialized high schools. “Guaranteeing” seats at such schools for under-represented students does an enormous disservice to these students, their families and our communities because it ignores the systemic failure of our educational system to provide equal opportunity to all students. More

Re: S.3791-A Krueger / A.566-A Jaffee: 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.

We believe this legislation represents an unconstitutional infringement on religious freedom. The legislation blatantly and unfairly targets only religious employers and private business owners with religious beliefs. The United States and New York State Constitutions protect the religious freedom of religious and other private employers, enabling them to believe as they choose and determine employee benefits based on those beliefs. More

S.5751-A, Golden / A.8121, Gjonaj: In relation to establishing September 4 as “Mother Teresa Remembrance Day”

Memorandum of Support

The above-referenced legislation would establish September 4 as Mother Teresa Remembrance Day in New York State, commemorating the date of her canonization as a saint by Pope Francis on September 4, 2016.

The New York State Catholic Conference supports the legislation as a fitting tribute to one of the most remarkable figures of the 20th century. More

Re: A.6632, Fitzpatrick: In relation to the “human cloning prohibition act”

Memorandum of Support

The above-referenced bill would completely and comprehensively prohibit human cloning or “somatic cell nuclear transfer,” both for “reproductive” purposes and for so-called “therapeutic” purposes.

The New York State Catholic Conference supports this legislation.

In 2006, South Korean research which had purportedly cloned human embryos and created genetically-matched embryonic stem cell lines was investigated and found to be completely fabricated. Hundreds of female eggs were used, millions in government funds were expended, and not one embryonic stem cell line was created. Yet this experimentation took society further down the slippery slope toward the manufacture and willful destruction of human beings. More

Re: A.4305: Lawrence: In relation to parental notification for abortions performed on minors

Memorandum of Support

The New York State Catholic Conference supports the above-referenced legislation which would support parents in the discharge of their parental responsibilities and promote the structure and stability of the family unit. This bill would require 48 hours notice to one parent prior to abortions performed on children under age 18.

The Legislature in its wisdom has long recognized and respected the guiding role of parents in the upbringing of their children. It has often determined that immature minors may lack the ability to make fully informed decisions and has taken action to protect them. Absent specific parental consent under the law, children under age 16 cannot get married, work in many professions, obtain tobacco products or tattoos, perform professionally in the arts or sports, go hunting, or have a tooth drilled. Abortion, a potentially traumatic surgical procedure with physical and psychological consequences, is the exception. More

Re: A.7669, Fitzpatrick: In relation to State Payments for Human Eggs

Memorandum of Support

This legislation would prevent the exploitation and undue inducement of vulnerable low-income New York women by ending the egg harvesting payment policy of the Empire State Stem Cell Board. This practice has no health benefit for the women involved and may result in serious health consequences for them, as the long-term risks of hormonal stimulation are unknown. The New York State Catholic Conference supports this legislation. More

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