Bill Memos

E-Learn Act

Memorandum of Concern – Amendments Sought

Re: S3184 Mayer / A5180 Benedetto
In relation to establishing the E-LEARN Act

The above-referenced bill would enact the E-LEARN Act to ensure that all school children have access to high-quality internet for remote learning. Although the intent of the legislation is laudable, the New York State Catholic Conference has serious concerns about the approach taken to accomplish the sponsors’ objectives. More

Rent Subsidies Increase

Memorandum of Support

Re: 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

HALT Solitary Confinement Act

Memorandum of Support

Re: S2836 Salazar / A2277-A Aubry
HALT Solitary Confinement Act

The HALT Solitary Confinement Act would limit the time an incarcerated person can spend in solitary 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.

Incarcerated people do not surrender their human dignity when the prison doors close behind them. People in isolated confinement are locked in cells 22 to 24 hours per day, with no limits on how long they can be held there. They are denied meaningful human contact, health care and opportunities for religious services. The deprivation, lack of normal human interaction, and extreme idleness fundamentally alter the brain and can cause immense psychological suffering, self-harm, and often lead to suicide. Issues with which people enter segregated confinement — mental illness, addiction, anger, despair — are only exacerbated by extreme isolation. Additionally, a disproportionate number of those in solitary confinement are people of color. More

Nourish New York

Memorandum of Support

Re: S4892 Hinchey
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

Medicaid Coverage for Childbirth

Memorandum of Support

A3386 Cook/S916 Sanders
In relation to Medicaid coverage for childbirth

The above-referenced legislation would establish mandatory Medicaid coverage for hospital stays for maternity patients and their newborn babies. The New York State Catholic Conference supports this bill and urges favorable committee action.

This legislation would establish required Medicaid coverage for a mother’s hospital stay of at least 48 hours following a natural delivery and 96 hours following a cesarean birth. The Catholic Conference was proud to support Chapter 56 of the Laws of 1996 which requires the same mandatory minimum periods of coverage by private health insurers and HMOs. More

Composting of Human Bodies

Memorandum of Opposition

Re:  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

Home Stability Supports

Memorandum of Support

Re: S856 Krueger / A2278 Hevesi
In relation to Home Stability Support Programs

It is unacceptable that the Empire State has over 150,000 homeless children and another 80,000 families on the brink of homelessness. Statewide, over 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.

The Home Stability Support (HSS) program is a fiscally responsible solution to this problem. The HSS program, as outlined in the above-named legislation, will:

  • Keep families and individuals on public assistance in their homes and out of homeless shelters;
  • Reduce costs to the state and taxpayers by preventing evictions, reducing emergency shelter utilization and reducing costs of other homeless services; and
  • Provide relief to financially strapped counties.

Through the use of a new Shelter Supplement, which will support between 85 percent and 100 percent of the fair market rent, families will be able to afford to stay in their homes and not be forced to live in shelters or on the street. In addition to the shelter supplement, eligible recipients will also receive home stability support services to avoid homelessness and achieve long term housing stability.

The New York State Catholic Conference enthusiastically supports passage of this bill.

Defining the human embryo as “tissue”

Memorandum of Opposition

Re: A1135 Paulin / S568 Hoylman
In relation to defining the human embryo as “tissue”

The above-referenced bill would add the “embryo” to the definition of human tissue under our Public Health Law. The New York State Catholic Conference opposes this legislation.

While protecting human embryos is a laudable goal, one which this bill purports to accomplish by regulating tissue banks, this legislation further dehumanizes nascent human lives by categorizing them as mere “tissue.” Unlike egg, sperm, skin, bone and other tissues, each human embryo is a living being with a unique set of 46 chromosomes. Cell differentiation has already begun as the embryo is developing into the born human being he or she will one day become.

We urge that this bill be defeated.

Medicaid Coverage Beyond Pregnancy

Memorandum of Support

Re: S1411 Rivera / A307 Gottfried
In relation to Medicaid coverage beyond pregnancy

The above-referenced bill would extend Medicaid coverage for women for a full year after they have given birth, pending federal financial participation.

The New York State Catholic Conference supports this legislation. More