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Ohio: Proponent Testimony March 13, 2013. Hell Freezes Over Again. Ohio Catholic Conference Supports OBC Access

March 20, 2013 News No Comments

Hell froze over in Ohio last Wednesday for the second time, when The Ohio Catholic Conference endorsed HB61, a bill  to restore the right of unrestricted OBC access to those person adopted in Ohio between January 1, 1964-September 17, 1996.  The access right of those adopted after that date is left high and dry due to the 1996 Disclosure Veto compromise which gives biological parents the special privilege  that no other person has, to bar the state from releasing the OBC.  Ohio Legislative Services  which nitpicks every bill  for legalities that crosses its path in  the Statehouse, won’t let that one go.Yet. Ohio Vital Statistics does not keep track of the number of DVs submitted  but it’s believed to be  a small number, perhaps less than 20.(I”ll be writing more about this later.)

You can read Tobin’s  testimony here, and  here’s a picture of the relevant testimony taken by Linda Niehaus, whom I sat with:

“…The Catholic Conference of Ohio is pleased to support HB 61.” (Posted with permission of Linda Niehaus)

The hearing started out with a whimper, but ended with a bang (apologies to TS Eliot).  About 45-50 witnesses and supporters from around the state attended.  Due to “floor business” the hearing, scheduled for 3:00 PM didn’t start until nearly 5:00 PM    From past experience I knew that committees don’t like to run on after 5:00 and by 4:30 I half-expected the hearing to be cancelled.  (Other bills were up for testimony, too.)  But at 4:55 leggies began to troop into Room 121,  Due to time constraints only Betsie Norris from Adoption Network Cleveland and Adoption Equity Ohio/ROAR testified, mainly responding to questions brought up at the last hearing.  Remaining testimony was submitted. That ” remaining testimony” included an endorsement from Jim Tobin of the Catholic Conference, a traditional opponent, with the already supporting Ohio Right to Life (see entry below this) of OBC restoration. No opponent or neutral testimony was offered. Judiciary voted the bill out unanimously 12-0. HB61  now heads for the House Floor, where I personally believe it will pass.No date has been announced yet, but it could take place as early as this  week.

The hearing for companion bill, SB23, originally scheduled for March 20 in the Senate Medicaid, Health and Human Services Committee has been cancelled.  The bill will most likely be heard the second or third week of April.  Starting next week, the legislature is on a two-week spring break.

For more information on the bill and hearing go to the ROAR site and click on Update 10. Bastard Nation is not affiliated with ROAR or this legislation.

Here’s some pictures from the March 13 hearing.

Hanging out in the hall before the hearing

 

House Judiciary Committee votes

 

Spending a lifetime at this:  Jake Teschler and Linda Niehaus

 

Linda Niehaus and Margaret

 

Cleveland folks.  I know names but forget

 

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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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