Bill Memos

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

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. 


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.


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.

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.


Physician-Assisted Suicide

Memorandum of Opposition

Re:  A4321-A Paulin
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.

The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the inequities of our current health care system. The virus has infected and killed thousands of our beloved elderly and has impacted low-income persons and persons of color at disproportionately high rates. Deaths from COVID-19 have taken well over half a million Americans and more than 50,000 New Yorkers. More

Pregnancy Centers ‘Study’

Memorandum of Opposition

Re: A5499 Glick / S470 Hoylman
In relation to pregnancy centers

The above-referenced legislation would authorize the New York State Commissioner of Health to conduct a study and issue a report on the impact of pro-life pregnancy centers in the state. The pre-determined outcome of the “study” is that such services are too “limited” in denying pregnant women access to abortion.

The New York State Catholic Conference opposes this legislation and urges a negative vote. More

HALT Solitary Confinement Act – Chapter Amendments

Memorandum of Concern

Re: Chapter Amendments to Ch. 93 of Laws of 2021
HALT Solitary Confinement Act 

We congratulate the legislature and Gov. Cuomo on the passage and signing of the HALT Solitary Confinement Act after many years of advocacy by a wide range of organizations, including the New York State Catholic Conference. Because the bill was signed with an approval memo indicating the potential for chapter amendments, we ask the legislature to consider the following points. 

First, any chapter amendments should not occur during a hectic budget process, with no input from stakeholders. It should be done after the budget is completed and the legislature returns to regular session. The provisions of HALT do not take effect for a year, so there is ample time for sober consideration. Men and women who have spent time in solitary confinement and/or family members of those confined must be given an opportunity to be heard, as should other experts and members of the public. The language of proposed amendments, which can be subtle, will be critical in determining if the changes correct minor flaws or effectively gut the law before it begins.  More

Recreational Marijuana

Memorandum of Opposition

Take Action Now!

Re: A1248 Peoples-Stokes / S854 Krueger
Recreational Marijuana

The above-referenced legislation would legalize the sale and use of recreational marijuana in New York State. The New York State Catholic Conference strongly opposes this legislation.

We stand by our 2019 statement, in which we urged the legislature to reject such a plan, citing consequences from increased teenage and childhood use, impact on developing brains, natural progression to harder drug use, and increased impairment-related transportation accidents and deaths. More