2024 End of Session Round-Up


2024 End of Session Round-Up

June 18, 2024

After five months in Albany, the New York State Legislature concluded this year’s legislative session two days late on Saturday, June 8. The final days were consumed by dramatic negotiations over Manhattan’s pending congestion pricing policy. These discussions distracted legislators from focusing on other bills such as physician assisted suicide, which did not pass.

Below is a brief summary of the priority legislation we have been focusing on this year.


Physician Assisted Suicide
S2445-C (Hoylman-Sigal)/A995-C (Paulin)

Defeating the Assisted Suicide legislation remained our top priority this year. Our opponents seemed to have more momentum than ever. The Medical Society of the State of New York, the New York State Academy of Family Physicians and the New York State Council of Churches have all backed the bill in recent months. However, our efforts and your advocacy led to the bill stalling once again. There remains a great discomfort with the bill among key lawmakers, and we will continue to build on that opposition when it is inevitably reintroduced next session.


Nonpublic Dignity for All Students Act
S3180-A Hoylman-Sigal / A1829-B Jean-Pierre

The closing weeks of the legislative session saw an increased effort to extend core provisions of the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA), enacted in 2010, to religious and independent schools. Those core provisions would prohibit “discrimination” for a variety of reasons, including for “a person’s gender identity or expression.” This could mean that requiring students to wear uniforms, use restrooms, and play on sports teams that correspond to their biological sex could be deemed “discrimination” under state law. In addition to direct and intensive advocacy by Catholic Conference staff, together with coalition partners, our Catholic Action Network alert generated over 14,000 emails to lawmakers urging them to reject the bill. We’re happy to report that the measure was held without further consideration.


Prohibited Hospital Interference with Patient Care
S6616-A (May)/A5297-A (Paulin)

This bill would purportedly prohibit hospital interference with patient care where the practitioner is acting in good faith and within their scope of practice. However, it is a clear violation of the rights of Catholic hospitals and another attempt to harass them. The bill is incredibly broad and could serve to mandate that all hospitals permit abortion on demand for any reason. We worked closely with Catholic Health Long Island, as well as the Greater New York Hospital Association, in successfully opposing this bill. Our first amendment concerns were heard and acknowledged by the Senate Health Committee Chair, and the bill died in that committee. Though it seemed to be moving in the Assembly, our opposition was heard, and it stalled on the Assembly floor.


Fertilized Ovum or Embryo Outside of Uterus not Considered Human Being
S8682 (Martins)/A9412 (Curran)

This legislation was introduced as a response to the Alabama Supreme Court’s holding which seemed to jeopardize in vitro fertilization in that state. It provides that any fertilized human ovum or human embryo existing outside of a human uterus shall not be considered an unborn child or human being. We opposed this bill for the political statement that it is, and it died in committee in both houses.


Maternal Health Care and Birthing Standards Workgroup
S7702-A (Webb)/A8207-A (Clark)

This bill would require that New York State convene a workgroup to study, evaluate and make recommendations related to the development of maternal care and birthing standards to ensure that patients receive the highest quality of care. The legislation would support our mission to Walk with Moms in Need, and we enthusiastically supported it. The bill passed both houses, and we will communicate our support to the Governor when it is delivered to her desk to be signed.


Substantial Equivalency

As was the case in 2022 and 2023 state budget negotiations and again in the closing week of this legislative session, statutory language was advanced (behind closed doors) that would have undermined the victory we secured on the Substantial Equivalency regulations in September 2022. This year’s intensified efforts focused directly on the Governor, Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Assembly Speaker Heastie. In addition to our efforts in having secured substantial increases in state aid to our Catholic schools, Conference staff worked with key lawmakers and the Governor’s office and successfully prevented the language from being adopted.