Bill Memos

Health Care Decision Making

Memorandum of Opposition

 Re: S.5939 Rivera / A.730 Rosenthal
In relation to health care decision-making 

The above-referenced bill would remove an important safeguard currently in the Public Health Law that sets a reasonable and prudent standard that physicians and hospitals must observe when making decisions for individuals who lack capacity. This bill proposes to lower a decision-making standard currently found in our state’s Health Care Proxy Law (Article 29-C Public Health Law). 

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School Energy Efficiency Collaboration Programs

Memorandum of Support

Re: S.4480 Ranzenhofer / A.6820 Crespo
In relation to including private and religious schools in school energy efficiency collaboration programs 

The above-referenced legislation amends Chapter 403 of the laws of 2016, in relation to including private and religious schools in school energy efficiency collaboration programs. 

The New York State Catholic Conference supports this legislation. 

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Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers

Memorandum of Opposition

Re: S.2264 Hoylman / A.2352 Glick
In relation to pregnancy centers 

This bill would impose unconstitutional requirements on pregnancy centers in violation of the First Amendment. Specifically, it would require that a mandatory, government-designed statement be made by pro-life pregnancy centers to disclose to clients the services they do not provide. It therefore mandates an impermissible form of coerced speech. We urge you to oppose this bill. 

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Physician-Assisted Suicide

Memorandum of Opposition

Re: A.2694 Paulin / S.3947 Savino
In relation to legalizing physician-assisted suicide

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.

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Insurance mandate for in vitro fertilization

Memorandum of Opposition

Re: A.2817 Simotas / S.719 Savino
In relation to an insurance mandate for in vitro fertilization

The above-referenced legislation would require large group health insurance plans to cover the costs of in vitro fertilization (IVF), gamete and embryo transfers, and other assisted reproductive technologies.  The New York State Catholic Conference opposes this legislation, as well as language proposed in the 2019-2020 Executive Budget which would accomplish the same goals.

While the Catholic Church empathizes with childless married couples yearning for the joys of parenthood, the Conference holds grave concerns with this insurance mandate.  These concerns include the legislation’s a) requirement for funding acts that destroy innocent human embryos, both inside and outside the womb; b) endorsement of technologies which promote the manufacture of human beings, contribute to the breakdown of family relationships, and interfere with the natural act of marital sexual intercourse; and c) lack of any conscience protection for religious employers and those with ethical objections to assisted reproductive technologies.

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Gestational Surrogacy

Re: A.1071-A Paulin
In relation to Gestational Surrogacy Agreements

Memorandum of Opposition

The above-referenced bill would undo New York’s longstanding prohibition of compensated surrogate parenting contracts. It would thereby encourage the buying and selling of children and the outsourcing of motherhood. The New York State Catholic Conference opposes this bill.

A.1071-A would legalize commercial “gestational surrogacy,” which involves a monetary contractual arrangement whereby a woman who is genetically unrelated to the child, will bear that child for someone else, with the intent of relinquishing the child at birth. Human embryos are created in a laboratory through in vitro fertilization (IVF), using egg and sperm that may or may not be from the intended parents, then transferred to the uterus of the surrogate mother (or “gestational carrier,” as this bill calls her).

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Home Stability Support Programs

Memorandum of Support

Re:  A.1620 Hevesi / S.2375 Krueger
In relation to Home Stability Support Programs

It is unacceptable that the Empire State has more than 150,000 homeless children and another 80,000 families on the brink of homelessness. Statewide, some 23,000 more people become homeless than escape homelessness every year.

The existing shelter allowance is woefully inadequate compared to the actual cost of housing where two-thirds of public assistance households are living in housing whose rents significantly exceed their shelter allowances. More than 82,000 households have rents that are 1.5 times or more than their shelter allowance. Nearly 21,000 households have rents that are 2.5 times their shelter allowances. As a result, many families are being forced into homelessness at no fault of their own.

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Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act

Memorandum of Support

Re: S.2837 Ramos / A.2750 Nolan
In relation to the Farmworkers Fair Labor Practices Act

The Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act 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. The New York State Catholic Conference supports this bill and strongly urges its long-overdue enactment by the legislature.

“For years, the Catholic Church has advocated for equal rights and fair treatment for farmworkers,” Timothy Cardinal Dolan, archbishop of New York, has said. “It is a human rights issue.” More


HALT Solitary Confinement Act

Memorandum of Support

RE: A.2500 Aubry / S.1623 Sepulveda
HALT Solitary Confinement Act

The HALT Solitary Confinement Act would limit the time an inmate can spend in segregated confinement, end the segregated confinement of vulnerable people, restrict the criteria that can result in such confinement, improve conditions of confinement, and create more humane and effective alternatives to such confinement. The New York State Catholic Conference strongly supports this legislation.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture has denounced solitary confinement that exceeds 15 days. Additionally, there are far too many people in isolation, disproportionately people of color. On any given day, there are nearly 3,000 people in isolated confinement in New York State prisons, locked in concrete 6-by-10-foot cells for 23 hours a day. More


State Aid to Planned Parenthood

Memorandum of Opposition

Re: S.470 Rivera / A.1080 Glick
In relation to additional state aid for Planned Parenthood clinics

This bill seeks to make Planned Parenthood clinics in New York State eligible to receive funding from the Hospital Bad Debt and Charity Care Pool, which was established in 1983 to underwrite a portion of hospital losses associated with uncompensated care to the indigent and uninsured. The New York State Catholic Conference opposes this legislation and urges that it be defeated.

Tens of millions of taxpayer dollars are appropriated each year in our state budget for “family planning services,” the vast majority of which will be appropriated to Planned Parenthood clinics. Additional state taxpayer funds flow to these clinics for “adolescent pregnancy prevention programs,” “health and sexuality-related programs,” sexually transmitted disease testing, and more. In addition to these line items, Planned Parenthood clinics enjoy expanded Medicaid eligibility for their clients, and newly-adopted Department of Financial Services’ regulations mandate cost-free insurance coverage for both contraceptives and abortions. We respectfully suggest that additional moneys to this provider are not warranted. More