Public Policy

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February, 2021

A correction from last month’s legislation new in 2021: Prohibits License Suspension for unpaid traffic and court fines, which disproportionately impacts low-income New Yorkers and their families and causes undue hardship.

From the NYS Catholic Conference:*
Physician Assisted Suicide – With bills in both houses, this is still an Issue which the Church and the Conference oppose.

Governor Cuomo is looking to legalize recreational marijuana and mobile sports betting. Both are opposed by the Catholic Conference as they involve raising money off people’s addictions.

Catholic Schools are in crisis due to COVID-19. The Catholic Conference is calling for reimbursement on state-mandated services (standardized testing like NYS regents exams), even in cases when testing couldn’t be administered due to the pandemic. This aid is counted on by Catholic schools in their budgets.

There is a budget crisis facing NYS. A lack of federal aid has left the State with a $15 billion shortfall and a growing deficit at almost $60 billion. The Catholic Conference says there could be unprecedented cuts in funding to human services. The most in need may not get the services they depend on.

Make your voice heard in the 2021 Legislative Session by going to www.nyscatholic.org and join the Catholic Action Network and Take Action. 

*(Taken from the January 21, 2021 Evangelist article, “Make Your Voice Heard! State Catholics called to get involved in legislative issues”)

From AARP NY:
The Governor and Legislature are urged to pass comprehensive nursing home reform in this year’s state budget. These reforms would include:
—Ensure nursing homes provide sufficient hours of care to residents;
—Require facilities to spend a “significant portion” of their revenue on resident care and address the way some divert taxpayer dollars toward excessive profits through complicated financial arrangements between multiple corporations;
—Improve infection control enforcement; and
—Ensure families are able to effectively advocate for their loved ones in nursing homes and to visit them safely.

AARP reports that the State Senate Health Committee approved a package of nursing home reform legislation that would improve the health and well-being of nursing home residents, bring peace of mind to family caregivers, and increase transparency to New York’s COVID vaccination program.

On the Federal side:

Update on the Affordable Care Act:
President Biden signed an executive order on January 28 to open a special enrollment period for the federal health insurance marketplace (HealthCare.gov), offering millions of uninsured people a clear pathway to get coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic. The enrollment period will run from February 15 until May 15, 2021, allowing an opportunity for people to sign up or change their health insurance plan outside of the annual open enrollment period or a qualifying life change.

Other Actions:
President Biden also rescinded the Mexico City policy which barred internationship nonprofits that perform or promote abortion from receiving funding from the US. He is also asking the Department of Health and Human Services to consider whether to rescind a regulation that bars health clinics that perform abortion referrals from receiving Title X federal family planning funds.

Thank you for your advocacy.
Marie Copeland, Co-­‐chair