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Indiana SB 552: The Non-Access Bill by Guest Blogger Lisa Zatonsky

April 18, 2015 News No Comments

humpty dumptyWhile I was forced to the sidelines, a lot of so-called “access” bills made their way into various state legislatures. The worse is the terribly written Indiana SB 352. Promoted by babystep deformers Hoosiers for Equal Access to Records (HEAR) , “adoptee rights bill,” SB 352 extended the state’s disclosure veto, added a contact veto (sorta), limited access of information between siblings, dismantled the state’s reunion registry, neglected to define” identifying information” and most critically, did not mention much less unseal and release–restricted or unrestricted– the original birth certificate.

Did supporters even read the bill?

After much hoopla on the coming restoration of adoptee rights in Indiana the bill was tabled and will soon die the death it deserves.

Incredibly, this death is heralded by much of AdoptionLand as a tragedy.

Sorry folks. That this farce, which doesn’t even come up to deform standards, received play by so-called “activists” is the real tragedy.

Bastard Nation with its partners Indiana Open Acess and CalOpen were instrumental in exposing this farce and helping it to the graveyard. (Special thanks to Shea Grimm, Jean Ulrich and Lisa Zatonsky.) BN’s emergency action alert with details about the bill is here.

Below is guest commentary on SB 352 by Indiana Open Access’ Lisa Zatonsky:
IOA

Advertised as an access bill that included a Contact Preference Form, SB 352 was everything but… It was an attempt to equal the tiers on information available from the State Registry for those born prior to January 1, 1994 and those born after. On the surface, the bill used the State Registry as an intermediary while allowing the biological parent(s) to add an additional disclosure veto on all information found in the Registry and on pre-adoptive sibling contact information. The disclosure vetoes would remain effective even after the biological parents were deceased. As if the mutual consent aspect of the Registry requiring both the biological parent(s) and the adoptee to be registered before information may be released isn’t a big enough access hurdle? Repeatedly, SB 352 names the disclosure vetoes as a “non-release of contact information form”. A Contact Preference Form, along with its exact wording, is not in the bill. Yet, the terms and their names were interchanged by those presenting the bill to individuals, media, and legislators.

In actuality, the bill was riddled with errors, omissions, ambiguity, and either current or potential due process violations. For example, the numerous “minor errors” included things such as the bill using the wording of existing statute codes instead of the code numbers. These errors and omissions would mean adoptees and biological parent(s) would be held to the standard found in the access law instead of any changes or amendments which may have happened to the wording found under the code number. The result? If the wording of the code number ever changed, it would be a violation of our due process rights.

More serious errors included Section 10 repealing the identifying information side of the Registry for those born prior to January 1, 1994 and then not correctly re-establishing another entry point for these adoptees. The bill did not even define what “identifying information” is. At no point in the bill, is the identifying information definition code listed nor does it state what is included as the “identifying information”. Even if the bill had stated exactly what was being released, where was it to be released from? The rubble that was the Registry?

In short, SB 352 was a non-access bill that dismantled the Registry and repeatedly violated both adoptee and/or the biological parent’s Rights.The bill’s “little errors” would be considered major bill writing catastrophes in most legislation. Attempts were made at amending the bill. However, the only option to cleaning up the SB 352 mess was scrapping the bill and starting over. The bill simply had too many mistakes. The Indiana House Judiciary Committee was notified with the list of concerns which could not be fixed and with a request of “Do Not Pass”. Citing the current timing constraint with the Indiana General Assembly closing date approaching, SB 352 was officially tabled.

It was a monster that needed

Lisa ZLisa Zatonsky is an Indiana adoptee who resides in the southern part of the state.

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Cross-posted from the Daily Bastardette

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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.