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Bastard Nation Action Alert: Texas HB 984–Amend or Vote No!

May 11, 2015 News 3 Comments

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BASTARD NATION ACTION ALERT: AMEND TEXAS HB 984

* * * FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE * * *

(Please Distribute Immediately and Widely)

Issued May 11 , 2015

URGE THE TEXAS STATE

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO

AMEND HB 984 OR VOTE NO

 

Bill Text: http://www.legis.state.tx.us/…/8…/billtext/html/HB00984I.htm

Bill House Analysis: http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/84R/analysis/html/HB00984H.htm

 

HB 984 (Deshotel) having cleared the House, now comes before the Senate State Affairs Committee. While the bill language is clean regarding adoptee access to their own original birth certificate, the accompanying Contact Preference Form is in reality a Contact Veto.

Section 2 and Section 3 of the bill would provide a birthparent a new affirmative right to “authorize” or “not authorize” contact, by their adult adoptee. The language of “prefer”, as utilized in Oregon, Alabama, New Hampshire, and Maine, was lobbied OUT of this bill. By replacing this single word, it changes the intent of adoptee autonomy.
Texas HB 984 has been assigned to the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee. Currently, as written, the bill has a contact veto. Contact Vetoes make contacting the biological parent a potentially criminal act and deny adoptee’s due process under the law.

 

Please, write the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee and urge them to amend HB 984 language striking out “authorize” and replacing it with “prefer” or to vote “Do NOT Pass”.

The bill may be taken up in committee this week. Write (TEMPLATE BELOW) and email lawmakers (CONTACT INFO BELOW) to urge them to stop the bill in the Senate State Affairs Committee.

E-MAIL TEMPLATE

SUBJECT: AMEND HB 984 OR VOTE NO

RE: HB 984

POSITION: AMEND OR VOTE NO

To the Honorable Members of the Texas State Senate State Affairs Committee,

I write today to URGE AMENDMENT to HB 984. Failing amendment, I seek your NO VOTE. I thank the author, Rep. Joe Deshotel, for his efforts to introduce a bill with access rights for adult adoptees to their own original birth certificate. Unfortunately, the bill, in both Section 2 and Section 3, includes a Contact Veto, in the guise of a “Contact Preference Form”. In reality, this language is an abomination of law born out of Oregon, and upheld by the State Supreme Court. It instead places an affirmative right to “not authorize” contact with and by a birth parent.

ADULTS, adopted as children, will one day have their rights restored to them, equal and on par to the non-adopted. However, this vehicle of HB 984 is no longer it.

I STRONGLY URGE YOUR VOTE TO AMEND HB 984. Thank you for your time and service.

Sincerely,

YOUR NAME
RAPID EMAIL CUT-N-PASTE

(Paste into your CC or BCC line and fire off one e-mail)
joan.huffman@senate.state.tx.us

rodney.ellis@senate.state.tx.us

brian.birdwell@senate.state.tx.us

brandon.creighton@senate.state.tx.us

craig.estes@senate.state.tx.us

troy.fraser@senate.state.tx.us

jane.nelson@senate.state.tx.us

charles.schwertner@senate.state.tx.us

judith.zaffirini@senate.state.tx.us

 

For those needing commas in between addresses.

joan.huffman@senate.state.tx.us ,rodney.ellis@senate.state.tx.us,brian.birdwell@senate.state.tx.us

brandon.creighton@senate.state.tx.us,craig.estes@senate.state.tx.us,troy.fraser@senate.state.tx.us

jane.nelson@senate.state.tx.us,charles.schwertner@senate.state.tx.us,judith.zaffirini@senate.state.tx.us

 

E-mail today! Your letters and phone calls DO make a difference!

Bastard Nation | P. O. Box 9959 | Spokane, WA 99209

Bastard Nation: the Adoptee Rights Organization is the largest adoptee civil rights organization in the United States. We support full, unrestricted and unconditional access for all adopted persons to their original birth certificates. (OBC). We believe that every adopted person should enjoy due process and equal treatment under law, the same as the not adopted.

We would like nothing more than to support HB 984 . Unfortunately, we cannot due to what amounts to a Contact Veto in Sections 2 and 3 of the bill. Those sections take the traditional language of a Contact Preference Form, (CPF) which lets a natural parent if they so desire, to state if they prefer contact with the adoptee, and twists it into a Contact Veto which prohibits, upon request of natural parent, an adoptee from contacting that natural hparent.

This is not a language nit-pick. Language matters, and there is a world of difference legally between the words “prefer” and “authorize.” These sections take the traditional language of the CPF and turns it on its head exchanging the word “prefer” for “authorize;” thus, creating a “Contact Veto” (without that specific term in the bill) that will act as a restraining order against an adopted adult with no opportunity for that adult to appear in court and stand against the accuser. No reason needs given, and no court adjudicates the request. We believe that a Contact Veto by that or any other name is unconstitutional and actionable.

Moreover, the word “contact’ itself is problematic and not defined in the bill. Does “contact” mean contact with a natural parent or contact with extended family members as well? Does “contact” mean direct contact between an adoptee and a natural hparent (or other family members) by a letter or email, a phone call.or personal visit to the home? Is it a one-time event or a series or pattern of events? What happens when an adoptee who identifies and locates a parent through means other than an OBC? What happens when an adoptee finds a cousin on ancestry.com or through a DNA test from various online companies? What happens when that cousin, not the adoptee, initiates contact? Would these adoptees be subject to the Contact Veto prohibition, even though their actions were not connected to OBC access and/or if they had no idea the CV had been filed?
.
Kansas and Alaska have never sealed original birth certificates. Since 1999 five states have restored to adoptees the unrestricted right to OBC accesss: Oregon through ballot initiative, and Alabama, New Hampshire, Maine, and Rhode Island through legislation. None of these seven state laws include a Contact Veto under that name or any other name. Why should Texas buck the system? Are Texas adoptees so dangerous that natural parents need the protection of the state to keep them at bay through the abrogation of their right of adoptee association and movement?

The easy way out of this quandary is to amend the language of Sections B and C from “authorize” to “prefer.” This would guarantee the meaning of equal protection and equal treatment under law and maintain the integrity of adoptee civil rights..

We urge you to support an amendment with those language changes. If HB 984 is not amended to reflect this change in language,we urge a vote of Do Not Pass.Come back next session and try again.

HB 984 is chance for Texas adoptees to have their right to OBC access restored, The passage of a clean unrestricted bill with no contact veto language, even vague language, will put Texas on the map as a state that respects the civil rights of its adoptees. The restoration of this right should not contain a prohibition that can be utilized to prevent adopted adults from contacting and meeting members of their own biological families nor their right to free association and movement.

Amend or Vote No!

Sincerely yours,,
Marley E. Greiner
Executive Chair
Bastard Nation: the Adoptee Rights Organization

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Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. Dion says:

    We have been attempting to get this law passed in Texas for more than 20 years. If you know anything about legislation, there is a way to amend this NEXT session instead of blocking what we have been working on EVERY DAY since January! Please DO NOT block the work of hundreds of people and affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of adoptees in the state of Texas. Why stop progress? A bill is rarely clean. Every state is different. I lives and worked on the Oregon ballot measure and now live in Texas and working on this one. Please do not hinder or stop the progress we have made over the years.

    • maddogmarley says:

      Actualy we’ve been talking to your leggies and know exactly what’s going on. You should contact them, too.

  2. Kim Dimick says:

    As a Texas born adoptee, I am asking you to PLEASE BACK OFF OF HB 984. This is a very important bill for all TEXAS adult adoptees, and is very beneficial. Your opposition to this bill is only hurting the 540,000 Texas adoptees and their families, both birth and adoptive. Many people have worked hard to get this bill passed so please do not ruin this opportunity!!!

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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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