Public Policy


January 2020 Update

The Legislation began its 2020 session on Wednesday, January 8.  Some of the issues on which we need to take action are:

Physician Assisted Suicide
If the bill passes, it would allow terminally ill patients to receive life-ending drugs.  These policies are dangerous for patients, caregivers and vulnerable people who are disabled. Suicide is not medical care. The Catholic Conference opposes this bill.

Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers
Legislation designed to intimidate and silence pro-life pregnancy centers passed through a Senate Committee in 2019 and may be voted on by the full Senate in 2020.  This bill would force pregnancy centers to disclose to perspective clients the services they do not offer, such as abortion.  If it is not disclosed that abortions are not offered, these Centers could face stiff penalties.  This bill discriminates, is unnecessary, and seeks to address a problem that does not exist.  This bill seeks to silence all pro-life speech and actions.  The Catholic Conference opposes this bill.

New York’s Ban on Surrogacy
Governor Cuomo has signaled his intention to repeal New York’s ban on for-profit surrogate motherhood. The bill would enable the buying and selling of children and the exploitation of women for their eggs and their wombs.  It would lead to an increased reliance on IVF and destruction of human embryos.  The Catholic Conference opposes this bill.

The Catholic Conference supports the reimbursement for full funding of human service workers providing services to disabled and other vulnerable populations.

To voice your opinion on any issues, go to The Catholic Action Network (CAN) which can be found on the New York State Catholic Conference’s website,  On the website, click “Take Action” and then on “Latest Action Alerts”.  If you aren to a member of CAN, please join!

Urge your Representative to vote Yes on HR 1230, Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act (POWADA).  A Supreme Court ruling weakened the Nation’s age discrimination laws making it much harder for older workers to prove age discrimination than to prove discrimination based on race, religion or gender.  Take action by going to

Also from AARP:  The Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019 (HR 3) would save Medicare $345 billion over a decade, cutting costs for the program by one-quarter.  The money saved by the federal government would be used to extend some Medicare coverage for dental, vision and hearing care.  This bill passed the House in December and is now in the Senate.

On the Federal Side:  From Catholic Charities USA:

In December, the Trump Administration finalized a rule to tighten criteria for states to access waivers for certain SNAP recipients.  The rule applies to Able-Bodied Adults without Dependents.  Previously, states were eligible to waive the three-month work requirement during a three-year period to extend benefits beyond that time frame to deal with economic uncertainty within states.  The new rule sets a minimum 6% unemployment standard for a county to receive a waiver.  This rule takes effect on April 1, 2020, with USDA officials estimating that 688,000 people will be removed from SNAP benefits.  Catholic Charities has spoken out against the changes noting that these state waivers respect subsidiarity and allow for a more localized response to those in need.

Thank you for your advocacy.
Marie Copeland and Sheila Morris Barnes, Co-­‐chairs