Bill Memos

Clean Slate Act

Memorandum of Concern

Re:  A6399A Cruz / S1553B Myrie
In relation to the Clean Slate Act

The above-referenced legislation would seal or expunge most misdemeanor and felony convictions following a waiting period and subject to certain conditions. While the NYS Catholic Conference is generally supportive of measures to give people convicted of crimes a second chance following the conclusion of their sentence, this bill is fundamentally flawed in that it would make it impossible for organizations that work with children or vulnerable adults to adequately assess whether someone who wants to work or volunteer in one of their programs can safely be around children.

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Health Care Decision Making

Memorandum of Opposition

Re: A2634 Rosenthal L / S4967 Rivera
In relation to health care decision-making

The above-referenced bill would remove important safeguards currently in the Public Health Law that guard against the intentional starvation and dehydration of patients. It does this by a) defining “health care” to include nutrition and hydration, even if administered orally, and b) allowing health care agents under the proxy law to make decisions about nutrition and hydration without knowing the patient’s wishes about them. Unlike the sponsor’s memorandum which states that this legislation makes only “technical/minor, clarifying and coordinating amendments,” this legislation takes a huge step off the slippery slope into the abyss of euthanasia.

We strongly oppose this legislation and urge you to vote “no” on the bill.

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Nourish New York

Memorandum of Support

Update: Passed in both Houses (5/25/21)

Re: S4892-A Hinchey / A.5781-A Cruz
In relation to establishing the Nourish New York program

The above-referenced legislation would make Nourish New York, a program introduced to address COVID-19-related food insecurity, a permanent program enshrined in the Agriculture & Markets Law. The New York State Catholic Conference strongly supports this legislation.

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed a tragic level of food insecurity in the State of New York. Food distribution events sponsored by Catholic Charities and others attracted and continue to attract heretofore unseen numbers of people in need of help. More


Rent Subsidies Increase

Memorandum of Support

Update: Passed Senate (6/2/21)

Re: S5419 Brisport/A2476 Hevesi
Re: Increase in Value of Rent Subsidies

The above referenced legislation amends Section 409-A of the Social Services Law to increase the value of rent subsidies for families whose lack of adequate housing puts their children at risk of entry into the foster care system or delays their reunification. The maximum monthly subsidy would rise from $300 to $600.

The New York State Catholic Conference supports this bill. More


Support and Services for Unaccompanied Minors

Memorandum of Support

A2583 Hevesi / S803 Biaggi
Provides for support and services for unaccompanied minors with no lawful immigration status

The above-referenced legislation would provide a variety of supports and services to minors in New York State who have entered the United States unaccompanied and without lawful immigration status. Services include health and behavioral health services under the Child Health Insurance Program, counseling sessions with social workers, legal services, language services, employment assistance, bilingual support groups, and enrollment in public schools.

The New York State Catholic Conference supports this legislation. More


Age of Consent for Marriage

Memorandum of Support

Update: Passed in both Houses (6/2/21)

Re: S3086 Salazar / A3891 Ramos
In relation to the age of consent for marriage

The above-referenced legislation would increase the age of consent for marriage to 18 in the state of New York. Currently, minors of 17 years of age can legally marry with parental approval and judicial review. The New York State Catholic Conference supports this legislation.

When a minor enters into a marriage, it is often not of their own free will. At age 17 some minors are pressured to marry by their parents, and these forced marriages present trauma for the child. They can be put in dangerous situations with older partners involving coerced sexual relations and domestic violence. 

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Emergency Contraception on University Campuses

Memorandum of Opposition

Re: S5633 Parker
With regard to “Emergency Contraception”

The above-referenced bill would require every public college and university in New York State to provide information to promote the use of “emergency contraception” (EC) drugs by students.

The New York State Catholic Conference opposes this legislation.

Since the federal Food & Drug Administration has approved distribution of EC over-the-counter in drugstores, and the Medicaid program and health insurers in New York State are required to cover the costs, there is now virtually unlimited access to these drugs.

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Composting of Human Bodies

Memorandum of Opposition

Re:  S5535 Comrie / A382 Paulin
In relation to the Composting of Human Bodies

The above-referenced bill seeks to add composting, or “natural organic reduction,” to the approved methods in New York State for the disposition of human remains.

The New York State Catholic Conference opposes this bill. More


In Relation to Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Standards

The following memo was sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo following legislative passage of this bill.

Update: Signed into Law, Chapter 105 (5/5/21)

Re:  A2681-B by Reyes, et al.
In relation to airborne infectious disease exposure prevention standards

To: The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor, State of New York

The tragic loss of life, the dramatic changes in our daily lives and the economic devastation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all – each and every person, organization, and employer.

The NYS Catholic Conference would strongly support a comprehensive and workable measure aimed at reducing the risk of contagion and thus saving lives, but the above-referenced legislation, which is now on your desk for consideration, is unfeasible and unfairly directed at only private sector employers, at potentially great cost. We urge you to work with the legislature on needed chapter amendments to address this and other issues. More


Crimes Against Pregnant Women & Infants

Memorandum of Support

Re: A5729 Cusick / S2669 Ritchie
A4367 Manktelow / S2658 Helming
A4843 DiPietro / S2129 Jordan
S4983 Lanza
In relation to crimes against pregnant women and infants

Each of the above-referenced bills attempts to provide some measure of statutory protection and remedy for pregnant women and their unborn children who are violated and harmed in incidents of domestic violence. Such protection and remedy was removed from New York’s law with the enactment of Chapter 1 of the Laws of 2019, the Reproductive Health Act (RHA).

The New York State Catholic Conference supports each of these legislative initiatives as a means to resolve current deficiencies in the law and provide maximum protection to women, infants and their families.

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