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ADOPTEE RIGHTS LEGISLATION

2015

All information taken from official state legislative pages unless otherwise indicated. For more information on these bills, go to the appropriate links.

Bastard Nation State Pages are currently under revision and construction.

Additions and corrections welcome!

 

OBC ACCESS

walken

CONNECTICUT

BASTARD NATION CONNECTICUT PAGE

Current Law

On July 1, 2015 a new law became effective in Connecticut that gives certain adult adoptees the right to obtain a copy of their original birth certificate if:

  • You were born and adopted in Connecticut.
  • You will be 18 or older on or after July 1, 2015.
  • Your adoption was finalized on or after October 1, 1983.

Pursuant to the new law, adoptees are also entitled to receive a Contact Preference Form and Medical History Form if they have been filed with the Department of Children and Families.

For adoptees adopted prior to October 1, 1983, a convoluted intermediary/consent system is in place. Upon petition, you may receive a copy of your original birth certificate on request if the birth parents named on the OBC have affirmatively consented. If they have not, an intermediary has sixty days to conduct a search to obtain such consents. If the search is unsuccessful, a report is prepared for the court hearing the petition which shall then make a determination whether or not to release”identifying information” to the adoptee/petitioner.

Bill submitted by Access Connecticut Adoptee Rights,  aligned with the American Adoption Congress. Over 30,000 Connecticut adoptees were left behind.

Links

Reporters   Shea Grimm, Lisa Zatolsky

 

COLORADO

BASTARD NATION COLORADO PAGE

Current Law

SB 14-051 was signed by the governor on 5/22/14. Previous to SB 14-051, Colorado had a tiered system of access whereby certain relatives and descendants of a deceased adoptee or birth parent; Adult adoptees whose adoptions were finalized between 7/1/51 and 6/30/67, or on or after 9/1/99; and those eligible under the Indian Child Welfare Act could access their original birth certificate upon request.

SB 14-051 provides access to original birth certificates upon request to adult adoptees regardless of adoption finalization date, but also enacted what is described as a “Contact Preference Form”. However, in addition to stating a contact preference, the forms contain an option for the birthparent “to authorize or not authorize the release of the original birth certificate to eligible parties.” (In other words, a disclosure veto).

The disclosure veto option on the CPF under SB 14-051 expires on January 1, 2016. Thereafter, CPFs will not be distributed that contain a disclosure veto option. However, this bill provides that any vetoes filed prior to January 1, 2016 remain in full force and effect.

Proponents have argued that any disclosure vetoes filed prior to January 1, 2016 will also expire or no longer be honored after January 1, 2016, however there is no clear indication that this is so. ON the face of it, it wouldn’t make sense for the state to collect disclosure vetoes up to January 1, 2016 only to say that none of them will be honored after that date. Moreover, one particular provision in the bill provides guidance that the intent is to honor all vetoes filed by January 1, 2016: “When one birth parent has authorized the release of the birth certificate and the other birth parent has filed a contact preference form prior to January 1, 2016, not authorizing release, the state registrar shall issue the original birth certificate to the eligible party with the name of the nonconsenting parent redacted.”
In a twist, however, SB 14-051 provided access to “all adoption records as defined in Section 19-1-103 (6.5) for inspection and copying by an adult adoptee, an adoptive parent of a minor adoptee, a custodial grandparent of a minor adoptee” and other individuals with the written notarized consent of the adult adoptee.

Discrepancies in the way this provision was being administered, including redactions not authorized by law, was the impetus for:HB 15-1106 – which was signed by the governor on 3/30/15. Described by proponents as a “clean up measure” to “clarify access,” this bill defines what “adoption records” are to be released and clarifies that they are to be released “without redaction.”

  • The adoptee’s original birth certificate and amended birth certificate
  • The final decree of adoption;
  • Non-identifying information, as defined in section 19-1-103 (80);
  • The final order of relinquishment; and
  • The order of termination of parental rights.

What remains to be seen is how these bills, now laws, are going to be interpreted and administered. On the face of it, HB 15-1106 seems to conflict with the clear directive of SB 14-051 which requires that effective 1/1/16, when an adult adoptee requests an OBC, the state registrar do a search to see if a CPF with a veto was filed prior to 1/1/16 and if so, does not release the OBC. HB 15-1106 however, does not provide for the withholding or redaction of an original birth certificate.

LINKS

Reporter:  Shea Grimm

 

INDIANA

BASTARD NATION INDIANA PAGE

Current Law  (Relevant citations are § 31-19-13-2; 31-19-22-2; 31-19-25-2; 31-19-25-3; 31-19-25-6; 31-19-25-8; 31-19-25-9)

SB 352:   Description:  A non-access bill which was an attempt to equal out Registry tiers between those born pre- and post-January 1, 1994.  The bill was incorrectly presented as containing a contact preference form and allowing partial access with a disclosure veto while using the Registry as an intermediary for those born prior to January 1, 1994.

  • Status: 01/08/2015  Senate First Reading: referred to Committee on Judiciary.
  • Status: 01/14/2015 Senate Judiciary Committee.  Roll Call: yeas 8, nays 2
  • Status: 01/20/2015  Senate Second reading: ordered engrossed.
  • Status: 01/22/2015  Senate Third reading: passed; Roll Call 28: yeas 46, nays 3
  • Status: 02/03/2015 Referred to the House.
  • Status: 03/02/2015 First Reading: referred to Committee on Judiciary
  • Status:  03/23/2015 House Judiciary Committee heard and tabled.
  •    DEAD

Statehouse Links

Links

Reporter  Lisa Zatonsky

 

MASSACHUSETTS

BASTARD NATION MASSACHUSETTS PAGE

Current Law     Citation  Chapter 46 Section 2B

Description:  Companion bills HB 2045 and SB 1144  strike  OBC restricted date language;  will make all OBC access in Massachusetts unrestricted and unconditional.

  • Would grant any adoptee 18+ access to the OBC.
  • If the adoptee is deceased, any of the adoptee’s offspring may have a copy of the OBC and sign-up with the state reunion registry.
  • Adoptive parents of adoptees less than 18 years old may have a copy of the OBC.

HB 2045:  An Act granting equal access to original birth certificates to all persons born in Massachusetts.

  • Status:  1/15/2015:  Introduced
  • Status:  1/20/2015: referred to the Committee on Public Health
  • Status:  1/20/2015:  Senate concurred
  •   LIVE

SB 1144:  An Act relative to equal access to original birth certificates.

Bastard Nation Submitted Testimony to Joint Committee on Public Health, June 23, 2015

Reporters:  Lisa Zatonsky, Marley Greiner

 

MINNESOTA

BASTARD NATION MINNESOTA PAGE

Current Law    Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 259.83; 259.89

Description:  Companion bills HG 2247 and SF 2132.  There is a lot going on in the bills because with several adoption related issues attacked at once.

  • OBC Access: Includes a CPF and a DV
  • New Adoption OBC: A DV can be applied immediately
  • Other: Allowing a DV on pre-adoptive sibling contact info against any sibling who was adopted.
  • Former Foster kids who aged-out may now get assistance in searching for sibs.

HF 2247

SF 2132

 Reporters:  Lisa Zatonsky  Marley Greiner

 

MISSOURI

BASTARD NATION MISSOURI PAGE

Current Law

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 453.121 (access to non-ID and identifying info by mutual consent)
Citation: Ann. Stat. § 193.125 (access to OBC)

Description:  HB647,  clean adoptee right to OBC bill, has stalled in the House Children and Families Committee. The state movement had competition in HB 1112, an adoption agency sponsored alternate bill, which required search for the birthparents and affirmative authorization by both birthparents to release the adoption records to the adult adoptee. HB 1112 also stalled in committee.

Bastard Nation continues to await the in-state Missouri Adoptee Rights Movement to partner for support. They have stated intent to come forward again next session.

HB 647:   Establishes procedures for an adopted person to obtain a coy of his or her original birth certificat

  • Status: DEAD (session closed)

HB 1112  Authorizes the release of certain adoption records to the adopted adult or the adopted adult’s lineal descendants

  • Status:  DEAD  (session closed)

Reporter:  Jean Ulrich

 

MONTANA

BASTARD NATION MONTANA PAGE

 Description:  HB 397  Revise adoption laws related to release of birth certificates to adoptees  Multi-tier access bill that includes a disclosure veto and an option that the OBC may only be released through a court order. Tiers are pre-October 1, 1985 (tier 1) may receive, October 1,1995-October 1, 1997 (tier 2) may receive through a Court order if not denied by the biological parent(s), and post October 1, 1997 (tier 3) may receive if there is not a DV or through a Court order. After 30 years from the date of the signed adoption, tiers 2 and 3 may receive according to the same manner as tier 1.

  • Status: 02/04/2015 Bill introduced, First Reading, Assigned to House Judiciary Committee
  • Status: 02/20/2015 House Judiciary Hearing, Amendment offered
  • Status: 02/23/2015 House Judiciary Passed Amended. Committee Roll Call: yeas 21, nays 0
  • Status: 02/25/2015 Second Reading
  • Status: 02/26/2015 Third Reading. House Roll Call: yeas 94, nays 6
  • Status: 02/27/2015 Sent to Senate
  • Status: 03/06/2015 First Reading and assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee
  • Status: 03/11/2015 Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing. Committee Roll Call: yeas 12, nays 0
  • Status: 03/16/2015 Second Reading scheduled and heard.
  • Status: 03/17/2015 Third Reading scheduled and heard. Senate Roll Call: yeas 47, nays 3
  • Status: 03/20/2015 Enrolled
  • Status: 03/23/2015 Signed by the Speaker of the House
  • Status: 03/24/2015 Signed by the President of the Senate

CURRENT STATUS:  PASSED/  04/01/2015 Signed by the Governor,

EFFECTIVE:  October 15, 2015`

LINKS

RELATED LINKS

Reporter:  Lisa Zatonsky

 

New York

BASTARD NATION NEW YORK PAGE

Current Law     Citation: Pub. Health Law §§ 4138-c; 4138-d

A2901/S3314 (As Amended 2909-A and S5964-2015

Reporter: Shea Grimm

 

 

PENNSYLVANIA

BASTARD NATION PENNSYLVANIA PAGE

Current Law     Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 23, § 2905

HB 162: re-submitted from last session where it passed House.  (See 2014 Legislation Page for details)

Description:  Unrestricted access amended to restricted access.

  • Status: Amended restricted bill sent to House Rules Committee

State/Legislative Links

Selected Testimony, 4/14/2015

Support

Oppose

A restricted amended bill was submitted and passed by the Pennsylvania   Committee and is currently in the House Rules Committee.   It is a bait and switch bill that includes redactions:

  • Section 2 (3)(a) requires the adult adoptee requesting a copy of their original birth certificate (OBC) to be 18 and have had graduated high school, received a GED, or “legally withdrawn” from secondary schooling.
  • Section 2 (3)(a) contains a Contact Preference Form provision.
  • Section 2 (3) (c) allows the birth parent to redact their name from the non-certified original birth certificate before it is released to the adult adoptee.
  • Section 2 (3) (c) (2) mandates that the option to file a redaction demand expires six months after the effective date of the legislation, however any redaction demands filed during that period remain in full force or effect unless later withdrawn.
  • Section 2 (3) (c)(4) A birth parent may withdraw their redaction demand at any time, however there is no provision to notify an adult adoptee that they have done so.
  • Section 2 (c) (7) allows an adoptee who has been the subject of a redaction of their OBC to every five years request that the Department of Health search for and contact the birth parent who filed the redaction demand and request that they remove it, as well as provide an updated medical history form. If it is determined that the birth parent is deceased, the adoptee will be entitled to an unredacted copy of their original birth certificate.

Pennsylvania Adoptee Rights (not affiliated with BN) has withdrawn support.

Links

 

Reporter:  Marley Greiner

 

TEXAS

BASTARD NATION TEXAS PAGE

Current Law

OBC access available to adult adoptees only if they can identify the birth parents listed on it. Identifying information released via a burdensome mutual consent registry. Even if matched on the registry, the applicant must participate in counseling for not less than 1 hour with a social worker or mental health professional with expertise in post-adoption counseling before the release of information. In addition even though already registered, when a match is made, the parties are all contacted again and required to sign affirmative consents and participate in counseling before information is released.

HB 984 Text

Bill House Analysis

HB984 passed the House in May of 2015 but was stalled in the Senate when it failed to be brought to a vote

Summary:  While the bill language was clean regarding adoptee access to their own original birth certificate, the accompanying so-called “Contact Preference Form” was in reality a Contact Veto.Section 2 and Section 3 of the bill would have given 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. The inserted “authorize” language would have contacting the biological parent a potentially criminal act and subject adoptees to civil suits and penalties, while denying them due process of law.
Links
 Reporter:  Shea Grimm

 

SAFE HAVEN

baby dump 3

ILLINOIS

BASTARD NATION ILLINOIS PAGE

SB 1670

Description:  Amends the Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act.

  • Provides that if a parent relinquishes a newborn infant to a hospital, the hospital shall file a foundling record to constitute the birth certificate for the relinquished newborn infant; and that to protect the parent’s anonymity, the foundling record shall not contain any identifying information about the relinquishing parent.
  • Provides that if the parent of a newborn infant or any other person returns to reclaim the infant after relinquishing the infant to a fire station, emergency medical facility, or police station, the fire station, emergency medical facility, or police station must inform the parent or person that he or she must contact the Department of Children and Family Services’ State-wide, toll-free telephone number for information on the relinquished infant.
  • Shortens the length of time the Department of Children and Family Services or a child-placing agency must initiate certain proceedings, including proceedings to terminate the parental rights of the relinquished newborn infant’s known or unknown parents, to no sooner than 30 days (rather than no sooner than 60 days). Provides that no court order terminating the parental rights of the relinquished newborn infant’s known or unknown parents shall be entered sooner than 60 days after the date of the initial relinquishment of the infant to the hospital, police station, fire station, or emergency medical facility. Makes other changes.

NOTE:  Reportedly this bill was originally about procedures creating birth certificates for out-of-hospital births, but additions were made.

Bastard Nation’s  interest in this bill concerns the first provision, the creation of a foundling birth certificate.  Illinois already uses founding birth certificates, even in safe haven cases.  What is the purpose then of this bill  except to carve out an unknown safe haven guarantee?

Status and Actions:

  2/20/2015 Senate Filed with Secretary by Sen. Heather A. Steans
  2/20/2015 Senate First Reading
  2/20/2015 Senate Referred to Assignments
  3/3/2015 Senate Added as Co-Sponsor Sen. Thomas Cullerton
  3/6/2015 Senate Added as Chief Co-Sponsor Sen. Toi W. Hutchinson
  3/11/2015 Senate Assigned to Judiciary
  3/18/2015 Senate Added as Co-Sponsor Sen. Dan Kotowski
  3/24/2015 Senate Do Pass Judiciary; 011-000-000
  3/24/2015 Senate Placed on Calendar Order of 2nd Reading March 25, 2015
  4/14/2015 Senate Added as Chief Co-Sponsor Sen. Kimberly A. Lightford
  4/16/2015 Senate Added as Co-Sponsor Sen. William Delgado
  4/21/2015 Senate Second Reading
  4/21/2015 Senate Placed on Calendar Order of 3rd Reading April 22, 2015
  4/21/2015 Senate Added as Co-Sponsor Sen. Donne E. Trotter
  4/21/2015 Senate Senate Floor Amendment No. 1 Filed with Secretary by Sen. Heather A. Steans
  4/21/2015 Senate Senate Floor Amendment No. 1 Referred to Assignments
  4/22/2015 Senate Senate Floor Amendment No. 1 Pursuant to Senate Rule 3-8(b-1), this amendment will remain in the Committee on Assignments
  4/23/2015 Senate Added as Chief Co-Sponsor Sen. Iris Y. Martinez
  4/23/2015 Senate Added as Co-Sponsor Sen. David Koehler

Status:  6/1/2015:  DEAD.  Died in committee at end of session.

Links

Reporter:  Marley Greiner

BABY BOXES

baby box 1

Baby Boxes are Safe Havens on steroids.  Not satisfied with anonymous abandonment through Safe Haven programs, a new group has emerged–separate from the Safe Haven Movement. Baby Box groups, headed by Indiana EMT and anti-abortion activist Monica Kelsey, with the support of the Knights of Columbus and radical anti-abortionists, is  working to pass bills throughout the country to authorize the installation of baby boxes–similar to bank depositories–where “desperate women” can ditch their “unwanted babies” with absolute, guaranteed anonymity unlike the  assumed or implied anonymity of  Safe Haven drops. Established Save Haven organizations such as the Save Abandoned Babies Foundation (Illinois), AMT Children of Hope (New York) and even Baby Safe Haven New England (the Morriseys) are actively opposing this legislation. Bastard Nation is extensively backgrounding and researching Baby Boxers and will be be posting exposes over the summer.  In the meantime, we are keeping track of legislation.

INDIANA

BASTARD NATION INDIANA PAGE

HB 1016 Newborn Safety Incubators–“Baby Boxes”

Description: “Requires the commission on improving the status of children in Indiana to submit, before January 1, 2016, to the general assembly and the governor’s office recommendations concerning: (1) new methods or mechanisms for carrying out policies relating to abandoned children; and (2) the production and distribution of information and posting of uniform signs regarding certain laws regarding emergency custody of abandoned children. Requires the state department of health to prepare and submit, before January 1, 2016, to the general assembly and the governor’s office recommendations concerning standards and protocols for the installation and operation of newborn safety incubators. Requires the state department of health to consider certain factors in preparing the recommendations.”

ACTIONS

STATUS

  • Status: 01/06/2015 First Reading: referred to Committee on Public Health.
  • Status: 02/19/2015 Committee report: amend do pass, adopted. Roll Call: yeas 12   , nays 0
  • Status: 02/23/2015 Second reading: ordered engrossed.
  • Status: 02/23/2015 Rule 105.1 suspended
  • Status: 02/24/2015 Third reading: passed; Roll Call 232: yeas 94, nays 0
  • Status: 02/24/2015 Rule 105.1 suspended
  • Status: 02/25/2015 Referred to the Senate
  • Status: 03/02/2015 First Reading: Referred to committee on Health & Provider Services
  • Status: 03/26/2015 Committee report: amend do pass, adopted. Roll Call: yeas 10 , nays 0
  • Status: 03/31/2015 Second reading: ordered engrossed
  • Status: 04/07/2015 Third reading: passed; Roll Call 371: yeas 48, nays 0
  • Status: 04/08/2015 Returned to the House with amendments
  • Status: 04/15/2015 Motion to concur in Senate amendments filed
  • Status: 04/16/2015 House concurred in Senate amendments; Roll Call 461: yeas 85, nays 0
  • Status: 04/21/2015 Signed by the Speaker
  • Status: 04/22/2015 Signed by the President Pro Tempore
  • Status: 04/27/2015 Signed by the President of the Senate
  • Status: 04/27/2015  Signed by the Governor

LINKS:

Senate Health and Provider Services Video

Reporter:  Lisa Zatonsky, Marley Greiner

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Reporters:   Marley Greiner,( Bastard Nation), Shea Grimm, (Bastard Nation). Jean Ulrich (CalOpen), and Lisa Zatonsky (Indiana Open Access). Editor:  Marley Greiner

Updated August 3, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

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Proud Bastard Nation Partner: CalOpen

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Proud Bastard Nation Partner: Open Adoption Records in Quebec

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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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