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Bastard Nation Action Alert. Florida House Quality Health Subcommitee: Do not support HB357/SB576

October 30, 2017 News No Comments

BASTARD NATION ACTION ALERT
Florida HB 357/SB576
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October 30, 2017
Florida adoptees need your help today!

Please contact the Florida House Health Quality Subcommittee,

Do not pass HB 357/SB576

Rep, Richard Stark (D-104) recently introduced HB 357 in the Florida House. Senate Companion SB 576 was introduced by Dennis Baxley (R-12) Last week HB 357 was referred to the House Health Quality Subcommittee, Health Appropriations Committee, and the Health and Human Services Committee. The Senate bill has not yet been referred to committee.

HB 357/SB576 is promoted as an “adoptee rights” bill—one that will restore the right of OBC access to Florida adoptees. Do not be fooled! The confusing and ambiguous bill discriminates against all Florida adoptees by maintaining the status quo for some and placing undue and unreasonable restrictions on others.

(1) Pre-July 1, 1977s adoptions: Currently, in theory, Florida adoptees whose adoptions were finalized before June 30, 1977 have unrestricted access to their OBC, a right they have held for decades. No specific legislation, however, was enacted to authorize that release. As a result, due to misunderstanding and misapplication of law, some pre-1977s adoptees receive their OBCs, but many others are routinely denied access. In some cases, the Department of Health has refused to comply, even if with lawfully issued court order has been issued, and adoptees have been forced to sue the state for what is rightfully theirs. HB357/SB576 does not cover these circumstances. It appears, in fact, that under HB357/SB576 pre-1977 OBCs would remain held hostage to current ambiguous and confusing Florida release practice and the whim of bureaucrats. They would receive no relief. That is, it is likely that the current pre-1977 system and its misuse, will remain in place.

(2) July 1, 1977- June 30, 2018 adoptions: OBCs would be released to adoptees 40 years after adoption finalization. An OBC can be released earlier if the birthparent(s) listed on it is deceased or can reasonably be presumed to be deceased; an adoptee provides written evidence of knowledge of the birthparent(s) name that appears on the OBC; the adoptee receives a court order for release. Although the bill does not include a Disclosure Veto or similar restrictions, it does prescribe “contact preference” and medical history forms for birthparents to submit to the state voluntarily. We expect that if the legislative process moves forward that restrictions such as Disclosure Vetoes, or white-outs will be added to the bill making it even more restrictive and anti-equality.

(3) July 1, 2018-beyond adoptions:  OBCs would be released to adoptees upon request, with no restriction, at the age of 18.

Adoptee rights/equality and adoption reform organizations overwhelmingly oppose HB357/SB576. Today these organizations, including Bastard Nation, the Adoptee Rights Law Center, the American Adoption Congress. the Donaldson Adoption Institute and numerous international and state organizations have released a joint letter addressed to Rep. Stark, Sen Baxley and co-sponsors in both houses requesting that the bill be withdrawn and that a genuine adoptee rights bill replace it. The letter has also been sent to the Health Quality Subcommittee asking members to oppose the bill.

We ask you today to join us in calling for HB357/SB576 to be withdrawn or killed before it gets out of the gate.

Links to help you lobby to oppose HB357/SB576

HB357
SB576
Joint Letter to House Health Quality Subcommittee and Bill Sponsors, October 30, 2017
What’s at Stake: Florida, Greg Luce, Adoptee Rights Law Blog, September 28, 2017
What’s at Stake: Florida? The History of Florida OBC Access  (expanded report), Greg Luce, Adoptee Rights Blog, October 6,  2017
When Something is Nothing and Nothing is Something, Greg Luce, Adoptees Rights Blog, October 24, 2017

 

Talking Points

HB 357/SB 576:

  • retains ambiguous, misunderstood, and misapplied standards to pre-1977 adoptees, is not an adoptee equality bill, and contains unreasonable and burdensome restrictions on Florida adoptees to access their OBCs
  • creates an unfair and discriminatory system where some adoptees will be forced to wait for 40 years to receive their OBCs. Some will not receive their OBCs until 2058 when they are in their mid-50s. Others will receive theirs at the age of 18.
  • contains language that creates an opening for even more discriminatory legislation either by amendment of this bill or later legislation
  • leaves the state open to litigation

Letter Template

Below is a template for letters. We suggest, however, that you personalize your letters.

I am writing today to call on Rep. Richard Stark to withdraw HB 357/SB576 and for members of the Health Quality Subcommittee to oppose the bill.

HB357/SB576 is not an adoptee rights bill. It will not restore to all Florida adoptees’ their right to obtain their original birth certificates at age of majority. Instead, it creates a confusing and random tiered system of access that essentially imposes a 40 year waiting period on adoptees in the middle tier, while leaving unchanged the current practice of routinely denying access to OBCs to most adoptees whose adoptions were finalized before July 1, 1977. While it recognizes what is already law; and should be the practice in Florida with respect to those pre-July 1977 adoptees, it does so without any real clarity, enforcement or even any specific access provision or guidelines. It gives those adopted as of July 2018 and beyond unrestricted access to their original birth certificates at age 18. Those, however, who have the misfortune of falling in the middle tier either have to wait 40 years after their adoption, know the name of a birthparent or know that their birthparent is deceased or is “presumed to be deceased”–which is so vague that it will have to be litigated or regulated by rule.

Best practice standards of adoption demand openness and transparency, which includes the right of adult adoptees to have unrestricted access to their own original birth certificates without restriction or government interference. Please join adoptees in making that happen. Please oppose HB357/SB576.

 

Contacts

In case of bounces, go directly to Representative’s or Senator’s personal page and click on direct link or template.

House Sponsors

Richard Stark
(850) 717-5104
Richard.Stark@myfloridahouse.gov
Assistant: Laurie Plotnick

Robert Cortes
(850) 717-5043
Robert.Cortes@myfloridahouse.gov
Assistant: Joshua Adair

(850) 717-5055
Cary.Pigman@myfloridahouse.gov
Assistant: Brandon Miller (Sebring)
Emily Slosberg
Phone: (850) 717-5091
Emily.Slosberg@myfloridahouse.gov
Assistant: none
NEW SPONSORS ADDED SINCE ORIGINAL ACTION ALERT
November 8, 2017:
(850) 717-5090
lori.berman@myfloridahouse.gov
Legislative Assistant: Abby Ross
Phone: (850) 717-506
kathleen.peters@myfloridahouse.gov
Legislative Assistant:  Ashley Overend
(850) 717-5027
david.santiago@myfloridahouse.gov
Legislative Assistant:  Eric Raimundo

Senate

Dennis L. Baxley
(850) 487-5012
baxley.dennis.web@flsenate.gov
Assistant: Debbie Dennis

Keith Perry
(850) 487-5008
perry.keith.web@flsenate.gov
Assistant: David Winialski

House Quality Health Subcommittee

Committee Office: 

214 House Office Building, 402 S. Monroe Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1300  Phone:  (850) 717-4840

Chris McElroy, Policy Chief

Bobbye Iseminger, Administrative Lead

Jessica Krause, Administrative Support

Members

James Grant (Chair)
(850) 717-5064
James.Grant@myfloridahouse.gov
Assistant:  Trent Phillips
Plasencia, Rene (R)  (Vice Chair)
(850) 717-5050
Rene.Plasencia@myfloridahouse.gov
Assistant:  Nitin “Sunny”Aggarwal (Orlando)
Jones, Shevrin D. ”Shev” (D)  (Democratic Ranking Member)
(850) 717-5101
Shevrin.Jones@myfloridahouse.gov
Assistant:  Jerrick Leonard
(850) 717-5118
Robert.Asencio@myfloridahouse.gov
Assistant:  Francisco Bravo
(850) 717-5040
Colleen.Burton@myfloridahouse.gov
Assistant: Lara Medley
(850) 717-5011
Cord.Byrd@myfloridahouse.gov
Assistant: Davis Bean
(850) 717-5080
Byron.Donalds@myfloridahouse.gov
Assistant: Sheila Jackson
(850) 717-5036
Amber.Mariano@myfloridahouse.gov
Assistant: Lisa Kauffman
(850) 717-5034
Ralph.Massullo@myfloridahouse.gov
Assistant: Adele Scordato
(850) 717-5048
Amy.Mercadp@myfloridahouse.gov
Assistant: Rosana Fonseca
(850) 717-5070
Assistant: none
(850) 717-5116
Daniel.Perez!myflorida.gov
Assistant: Daniel Leon
Pigman, Cary (R) (co-sponsor)
(850) 717-5055
Cary.Pigman@myfloridahouse.gov
Assistant: Brandon Miller (Sebring)
(850) 717-5087
David.Silvers@myfloridahouse.gov
Assistant: Victoria Nowlan
(850) 717-5017
Cyndi.Stevenson@myfloridahouse.gov
Assistant: Colin Kirkland
Bcc Quick List
 Additions
November 8, 2017:
lori.berman@myfloridahouse.gov, kathleen.peters@myfloridahouse.gov, david.santiago@myfloridahouse.gov
Tweets

@JamesGrantFL, @ShevrinJones Vote NO on HB 357/SB 576. Florida adoptees deserve equality not discrimination. #AdopteeRights

@ambermariano Vote NO on HB 357/SB 576. Florida adoptees deserve equality not discrimination. #AdopteeRights

@RepAsencio, @ByronDonalds Vote NO on HB 357/SB 576. Florida adoptees deserve equality not discrimination. #AdopteeRights

@CordByrd, @Daniel_PerezFL Vote NO on HB 357/SB 576. Florida adoptees deserve equality not discrimination. #AdopteeRights

@AmyMercado, @NEWTFL Vote NO on HB 357/SB 576. Florida adoptees deserve equality not discrimination. #AdopteeRights

@DavidRSilvers, @RepStevensonVote NO on HB 357/SB 576. Florida adoptees deserve equality not discrimination. #AdopteeRights

@ColleenLBurton Vote NO on HB 357/SB 576. Florida adoptees deserve equality not discrimination. #AdopteeRights

@CaryPigman, @FLHOUSE34 ‏ Vote NO on HB 357/SB 576. Florida adoptees deserve equality not discrimination. #AdopteeRights

Vote NO on HB 357/SB 576. Florida adoptees deserve equality not discrimination.

Vote NO on HB 357/SB 576. Florida adoptees deserve equality not discrimination.

Vote NO on HB 357/SB 576. Florida adoptees deserve equality not discrimination.

Please sign on to  Bastard Nation’s national and state advocacy efforts, It will only take 30 seconds and it could change your life–and the lives of adoptees in the US and around the world.!

 

Bastard Nation  Phone 614-641-0294

www.bastards.org

@BastardsUnite

 

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Proud Bastard Nation Partner: CalOpen

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Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Indiana Open Access

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SAMPLE STATE ORGANIZATION RESOLUTION AGAINST VETOES AND OTHER RESTRICTIONS

SAMPLE STATE ORGANIZATION RESOLUTION AGAINST VETOES AND OTHER RESTRICTIONS

Any political organization seeking to enact true open records legislation should be very clear with both their constituents and the legislators they work with about what the essential provisions of the proposed bill are. Any modification or deletion of the essential provisions of a bill should be immediate cause to have the bill killed.

Any political organization seeking the assistance of Bastard Nation to pass open records legislation must hold unconditional access by adult adoptees to the original record of their birth as an essential provision that cannot be modified or deleted. Read our Mission Statement.

Bastard Nation will not assist any political organization to pass open records legislation unless their governing board or other leadership

passes a written resolution such as the following that commits the board to a strategy of no compromise on key provisions
informs its constituents of this commitment and this strategy
informs the sponsoring legislators of this commitment and this strategy.

WHEREAS we recognize that disclosure and contact vetoes, redactions, mandatory intermediaries and registry provisions are an affront to the dignity of adopted persons everywhere and a violation of their right to due process and equal treatment under the law,

WHEREAS there has been a demonstrable negative effect on the ability to pass unconditional open records in states that have passed veto legislation and/or any provisions that are less than unconditional access on demand by the adult adoptee,

WHEREAS our primary goal is to restore the right of adult adoptees everywhere to be treated as full citizens under the law,

WE HEREBY DECLARE that under no circumstances will we accept the addition of veto, redaction, intermediary, or registry provisions, or any conditional provisions to our legislation that would be less than unconditional access for adult adoptees to the original record of their birth. All legislative sponsors and members of this organization will be informed of our policy on this matter to ensure that the bill is pulled promptly in the event of such revisions.

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