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ADOPTEE RIGHTS LEGISLATION

2017

 

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

For information on bills from last year and those held over for 2017  go to BN’s 2016 Legislative Page.  Check out our Keep Informed on Legislation page (middle column) for earlier bills.)

Additions and corrections welcome!

 

 

Indicates current status of bill is Bastard Nation Approved!

 

 

 

ARKANSAS

HB 1636 bill page

HB 1636 was introduced on February 21, passed in both houses with no opposition, and was signed into law on March 17, 2017. The under-the-radar bill unseals OBCs  and adoption decrees for Arkansas adoptees 21 and older unless a birthparent submits a verifiable Disclosure Veto. In that case, the name of the birthparent is redacted from the OBC (no mention of other identification information that may appear in the document), and the adoptee will receive the mutilated copy.  Current birthparents have until July 2018 to file the DV, and cannot submit one after that date. Future birthparents will have until the adoptee reaches the age of 21 to file for a DV and request redaction.   DVs may be removed at any time in both cases.  The new law also includes a CPF, but the language is problematic and unclear.  The cost of the OBC and decree “may” be $100, but that might be changed through regulations.

Initial  Sponsors: Rep. Chris Richey

Submitting organization:  None. Constituent bill

Bill History and Actions

  • February 21, 2017: filed. first and second reading; referred to House Committee on Aging, Children and Youth, & Military Affairs
  • March 1, 2017: Returned by Committee with Do Pass recommendation
  • March 2, 2017: Amendment #1 read. passed and ordered engrossed
  • March 6, 2017: Read third time; passed; ordered transmitted to Senate; first and second reading; referred to Senate Committee on Public Health, Welfare, and Labor
  • March 8, 2017: Returned to Senate with recommendation of Do Pass
  • March 13, 2017: third reading and passed; returned to House as passed; returned from Senate as passed
  • March 14, 2017: Correctly enrolled and transmitted to governor
  • Effective Date: exact date unknown. Adoptees must wait 1 year after date to apply.

March 17, 2017: signed by governor. HB1636 now Act 519 – PASSED AND SIGNED

Documents of Interest:

Notes

CONNECTICUT

Four  unrestricted access bills have been introduced this session. At the time of submission and introduction they were all “clean,” restoring access without restriction to adoptees 18 and older who are not covered by earlier legislation.

(1) S 556 bill page 

(1)) Restorces OBC access  without restriction to all adoptees no matter when they were born or their adoptions were finalized; (2) allows adoptees who cannot access their OBCs for various reasons, including an out-of-state birth, to petition a court of competent  jurisdiction or a child placing agency,  for release of  identifying information.

Initial  Sponsors: Sen. Steve Cassano (D), Sen. Gayle S. Schlossburg (D)

Bill History and Actions

  • January 22, 2017: Referred to Joint Committee on Public Health
  • February 7 2017:  Referred from House to Judiciary Committee; referred from Senate to Judiciary Committee
  • February 22, 2017:  according to email from Access Connecticut, the Senate Judiciary Committee  will not act on the bill, so it it essentially dead.

Documents of Interest:

Notes

(2)  HB 6490 bill page

Companion to S556. (See above for more information)

Initial Sponsors: Rep. Gregory Haddad (D), Rep. Fred Camillo (D)

Bill History and Actions

  • January 23, 2017:  Referred to Joint Committee on Public Health
  • February 22, 2017:  according to an email from Access Connecticut, the Senate Judiciary Committee  will not act on  companion bill  S556,  so it it essentially dead.

Documents of  Interest

Notes

(3) HB 6299 bill page

Amends section 45a-751c  of general statutes to eliminate the conditions that must be met in order for an adopted person to obtain an uncertified copy of his or her original birth certificate.

Initial Sponsors:   Rep. Kim Rose (D)

Bill History and Actions

  • January 23, 2017: Referred to Joint Committee on Children
  • February 1, 2o17: Referred to Senate Committee on Public Health
  • February 1, 2017:  Referred to House Committee on Public Health

 

(4)  SB  977 bill page (amendment to earlier SB 977) 

 Amendment to  HB 977 releases  non-certified copy of an original birth certificate for those adopted before October 1 1983.  (1) an adopted person who is 18 years of age or older  or (2) such adopted person’s adult child or grandchild;  (3) CPF but no veto. According to Access Connecticut this it the bill it is pursuing.

Initial Sponsors:

Bill History and Actions

  • March 24, 2017: Passed Planning and Development Committee; Joint  Favorable Substitute
  • April 6, 2017:  Referred to Office of Legislative Research and Office of Fiscal Analysis.
  • April 12, 2017: Reported out of Legislative Commission’s office-favorable; tabled for calendar-Senate

Documents of Interest

Bastard Nation Actions:

  • Action Alert, April 16, 2017
  •  Letter of Support, April 19  2017

Submitting group for all 4 bills: Access Connecticut (not affiliated with Bastard Nation)

FLORIDA

Two identical bills have been introduced in the Florida House and Senate. At the time of submission and introduction they are “clean” and propose unrestricted OBC access at the age of 18 to all adoptees.

(1) HB 257 bill page 

Restores OBC access to all adoptees at the age of 18 or older upon request.

Initial Sponsors:  Rep. Richard Stark (D)

Bill History and Actions

  • January 17 2017:  filed
  • January 25, 2017:  referred to Health Quality Sub-committee
  • March 7, 2017:  1st reading
  • March 31, 2017:  Rep. Stark reports online that the bill will not move out of committee.

Documents of Interest

Open Adoption Records, Capital News Service, March 17, 2017

Bastard Nation Actions

Notes

(2)  SB434 bill page

(See HB 0257 for details)

Initial Sponsor: Sen Dennis Baxley (R)

Bill History and Actions:

  • January 23, 2017:  filed and introduced
  • February  1, 2017:  Referred to Children, and Elder Affairs Committee; Appropriations Sub-Committee on Health and Human Services.
  • March 7, 2017:  S Introduced -SJ 68

Documents of Interest

Bastard Nation Actions

Notes

Submitting group for both bills:

 

IOWA

Three bills were introduced in Iowa this session. All are now dead.

(1)  HF 119 bill page

Restores with no restrictions at the age of 18,  the right of OBC access to all Iowa adoptee. Includes a Contact Preference Form, but no vetoes.

Bill History and Actions

  • January 26 2017:  Introduced; referred to House Committee on Human Resources
  • DEAD. Not moved on.

Initial Sponsors: Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell

Submitting Organization: Iowa Adoptee and Family Coalition (not affiliated with Bastard Nation)

Bastard Nation Actions

Documents of Interest

Notes 

(2) HF 123 bill page

Bill History and Actions

  • February 20 2017:  Sent to Subcommittee: Salmon, Dolecheck, Wessel-Kroeschell
  • February 23, 2017:  Passed Subcommittee
  • March 22, 2017: DEAD. Not moved on.

Submitting Organization: Iowa Adoptee and Family Coalition (not affiliated with Bastard Nation)

Initial Sponsors: Committee o Human Resources, Chair, Fry

Bastard Nation Actions

Documents of Interest

Notes 

(3) HF 335  bill page

Bill History and Actions

  • February 16, 2017: Introduced; referred to House Committee on Human Services
  • DEAD. Not moved on.

Initial Sponsors:  Rep. Marti Anderson

Bastard Nation Actions

Documents of Interest

Notes 

Submitting Organization for all three bills: Iowa Adoptee and Family Coalition (not affiliated with Bastard Nation)

 

MASSACHUSETTS

Current Massachusetts law allows adoptees to access their original birth certificates without condition at age 18 if they were adopted on or before July 17, 1974 or on or after January 1, 2008.    Identical bills have been introduced to close that black hole, and allow all Massachusetts,  adoptees 18 and over to access with no conditions, their OBC upon request.

NOTE:  Similar clean companion bills were carried over from 2015 to 2016 and reported favorably out of the Joint Committee on Public Health.  Speaker DeLeo’s refused to bring H4307  to the House floor for a vote.  Bastard Nation supported and lobbied this effort. See 2016 BN Leg page for more information.

(1)      SD 1195 bill page

Initial Sponsor: Sen. James B (Jamie) Eldridge

Bill History and Actions

  • January 23, 2017: Introduced; referred to Joint Committee on Public Health

Documents of Interest

Bastard Nation Actions

Notes

(2) H 1163 bill page 

Initial Sponsors: Rep. Sean Galballery, Rep. Kate Hogan

Bill History and Actions

  • January 23,  2017:  introduced, referred to Joint Committee on Public Health

Documents of interest

Bastard Nation Actions

Notes

Submitting group for both bills :  OBC for MA (not affiliated with Bastard Nation)

MINNESOTA

SF 1284  bill page

SF 1284 is a re-boot of a bill from last session that permits Minnesota Adoptees who have received a Disclosure Veto the right to appeal. The bill maintains the DV option. (See 2016 BN Leg page for more information)

  • Many Minnesota-born adult adoptees would be able to receive their original birth certificates by request from Minnesota Department of Health Vital Records.
  • Those whose birthparents have denied access to the OBC via DV  would be provided due process rights to appeal the denial through court proceedings.
  • Birthparents continue to have the DV option; current DVs remain in place
  • Birthparents will be able to state their preference for contact (“Yes, I would like contact”, “No, I do not want contact”, or “Yes I want contact, but through an intermediary.”)

Bill History and Actions

  • February 22, 2017: Introduced in Senate; 1st reading. Referred to Senate Human Services and Reform Finance Committee
  • March 31, 2017:  According to MCAR bill failed deadline to get out of committee; can return for 2018 session.

Initial Sponsor: Sen. Matt Little, Sen Ann H. Rest,  Sen. Jim Carlson

Bastard Nation Actions

Documents of Interest

Notes

HF 2030 bill page

Companion bill to SF 1284 (seed above for details)

Bill History and Actions

  • March 2, , 2017: Introduced in House; 1st reading. Referred to House Human Services Reform  Committee
  • March 31, 2017:  According to MCAR bill failed deadline to get out of committee; can return for 2018 session.

Initial Sponsor:  Rep. Maye Quade

Bastard Nation Actions

Documents of Interest

Notes

Submitting Organization for both bills: Minnesota Coalition for Adoption Reform (not affiliated with Bastard Nation)

 

NEW YORK

Three access bills have been introduced this session plus a Registry sop bill to satisfy a few.

(1) A 05036 bill page

A05036 was introduced in the New York Assembly  on February 6, 2017 by Rep. David Weprin.  It is the same dirty bill that was flogged last session (see  BN Leg page 2016 for details).  The bill contains a Disclosure Veto with birthparent notification of request,  OBC redaction,  and even, in some cases ADOPTIVE PARENT in-put.   Bill points:

  • Adopted person age 18 or older can apply to the court to request a CERTIFIED copy of their long form OBC
  • When application is received, the court provides the DOH with the identifying information of the birth parent or parents The DOH has 120 days to contact the parent(s).
  • If birthparents want “confidentiality” the adopted person gets a certified but redacted OBC.
  • If two parents are listed but only one is able to be contacted, it is up to the court’s discretion whether to release the other parent’s info.
  • If parent cannot be contacted or does not respond to the DOH, it will be up to the court’s discretion if it would be detrimental to the welfare of the birth or ADOPTIVE parents to have their names on the OBC.
  • There is a “contact preference” form for parents who consent to the release of identifying information which includes contact through a CI, agree to contact or do not contact me.
  • Medical history forms will be given to the birth parent as well.
  • The DOH will widely disseminate information concerning this law for birth parents to see.
  • Moving forward; at the time of surrender parents will be asked to check a box indicating whether they would want the child to receive a certified copy of their OBC when they turn 18. It is up to the birth parent to contact the DOH if they move or change their mind about which box they check off.

Bill History and Actions

  • February 6, 2017:  Introduced; referred to Assembly Health Committee

Initial Sponsor: Rep. David Weprin

Opposed:

  • Bastard Nation
  • New York State Adoptee Equality (not affiliated with Bastard Nation)

Bastard Nation Actions

Documents of Interest

Notes

(2) A 05449 bill page 

A stand-alone bill that allows for the release of a non-certified copy of the OBC to an adoptee without the need to obtain a court order  as long as the adoptee and birthparents register with the state’s adoption registry and consent the release. The bill applies only to those situations where an adoptee and any “required birthparents” have all registered and consented to release. “Required” is not defined in the bill, and is  assumed that it means the name(s) of parent(s)  that appear on the OBC. 

Bill History and Actions

  • February 2, 2017: Introduced; referred to House Judiciary Committee

Initial Sponsor: Rep. David Weprin

Submitting organization:

Bastard Nation Actions

Documents of Interest

Notes

(3) SB 5169A bill page

Clean bill that amends Section 4174 of the public health law by adding subdvision 10, which requires non-certified copies of the original long form  birth certificates upon request by the adoptee or agent. The bill contains no Contact Preference Form and no  Disclosure or Contact Veto.

Bill History and Actions

  • March 10, 2017:   Introduced; referred to Senate Health Committee
  • March 22, 2017:   Amended and re-committed to Committee

Initial Sponsor: Sen. Tony Avella

Submitting Organization:  sponsor

Bastard Nation Actions

Documents of Interest

Notes

(4) S 04845 bill page

Companion to A 05036 (see above for details)

Initial Sponsor: Andrew J Lanza

Submitting organization:  sponsor

Bill History and Actions

  • March 3, 2017:  Introduced; referred to Senate Children and Famulis Committee

Documents of Interest

Bastard Nation Actions

Notes

(5) A 06821 bill page

Companion to S 05168A (see above for details.

Bill History and Actions

 

  • March 21, 2017:   Introduced; referred to House Health Committee
  • April 5, 2017   Amended and re-committed to Committee

Initial Sponsor: Rep. David Weprin

Submitting Organization:  sponsor

Bastard Nation Actions

Documents of Interest

Notes

 

NORTH CAROLINA

HB 823 bill page

North Carolina, in an attempt to take the 2017 prize for most insulting an degrading “access bill,”  has submitted HB 823.  The bill authorizes OBC accss to adoptees over the age of 40 who can prove the name of birthparent(s).

Bill History and Actions

  • April 11, 2017:  filed
  • April 13, 2017:   passed first reading; referred to House Judiciary Committee

Initial Sponsors: Rep, Pat Hurley, Faircloth, Harrison

Submitting group:  sponsor

Documents of interest

Bastard Nation Actions

Notes:

NORTH DAKOTA

 HB 1319 bill page

Permits the release of OBCs to all North Dakota adoptees (or lineal descendants) at the age if 18 upon request without restriction from “the department” (not specified) or child placing agency. The bill maintains current language to limit release of other identifying information to individual adoptees without consent of first parent(s).

Bill History and Actions

  • January 16, 2017:  Introduced; first reading. Referred to House Judiciary Committee
  • January 25, 2017:  Hearing in House Judiciary
  • February 1, 2017: Reported back Do Not Pass
  • February 3, 2017:  2nd reading; failed. Vote 10-80.  DEAD

Initial Sponsors:  Rep. Jeff Magram (D),  Rep. Mike  Brandenburg (R), and Sen Robert Erberle (R).

Submitting group:  North Dakota Adoptee Rights (not affiliated with Bastard Nation)

Documents of interest

Bastard Nation Actions

Notes:

  • Opposed by the Catholic Conference of North Dakota; Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota

 SOUTH CAROLINA

H3775 bill page  

Restores the right of OBC and evidence of adoption or paternity determination access to persons  born in South Carolina  21 and over, It includes a voluntary CPF and provides for the submission of a voluntary birthparent medical history. The bill is  takes effect for adoptions finalized after June 30, 2017 on January 1, 2018. and takes effect for adoptions finalized beforeJuly 1, 2017 on January 1, 2019.

Initial Sponsor: Reps. Knight, Delleney, Cobb-Hunter, Felder, J.E. Smith, Simrill, Douglas, West, Wheeler, Thigpen, Williams, McEachern, Johnson, Pitts, Ridgeway, Rutherford, Henegan and Collins

Submitting Organization:

Bill History and Actions

  • February 16, 2017: Introduced; 1st reading; referred to Committee on Medical, Military, Public, and Muncipal Affairs
  • April 18, 2017, 2:30 PM, 425 Blatt Building   Hearing scheduled before Committee on Medical, Public, and Municipal Affairs

Documents of Interest

Bastard Nation Actions

  • Action Alert, April 16, 2017
  • Testimony in support:  April 18, 2017

Notes

(2)  H 3898 bill page

Fast tracked dirty bill introduced in House on March 7, by many of the same sponsors as clean bill H3775 (see above). Requires public adoption agencies (no mention of private) to release identifying information only if affidavit or release from adoptee and  biological parent,biological grandparent, or biological siblings is on file with agency. Agencies must also maintain “confidential registry” of those who have filed affidavits. The adoptee and biological parent, grandparents or siblings “shall” undergo counseling concerning effects of disclosure; agencies “may” charge a fee.  Parties seeking release of information must wait 30 days after compliance with these conditions to receive information except for extreme circumstances.

Initial Sponsor: Reps. Knight, Henegan, Spires, King, Douglas, Robinson-Simpson, Felder, Hosey, Clyburn, Mack, Kirby, Alexander, Bennett, Whipper, Collins, Arrington, Loftis, Pitts, Elliott and M. Rivers

Submitting Organization: 

Bill History and Actions

  • March 7 2017:  Introduced and 1st read; referred to House Judiciary Committee
  • March 29, 2017:  Judiciary Committee reports out favorably
  • March 30, 2017: 2nd read; unanimous consent for 3rd reading and  Roll call vote. Passed 103-0
  • March 31, 2017: Sent to Senate
  • April 4, 2017:  Introduced; 1st read; referred to Committee on General

Documents of Interest

Bastard Nation Actions

Notes

TEXAS

SB 329 and its identical bill, HB547 have been introduced in the House and Senate At the time of submission and introduction, the bills offer “clean” OBC access. The contentious verbiage found in the 2016 bill “authorizing contact” through the Contact Preference Form and creating a Contact Veto have been removed and replaced with “wish.”

(1)    HB 547 bill page

Adoptees 18 years age or older can access their OBC upon request without restriction;  contains Contact Preference Form language

Initial sponsor:  Rep. Joe Deshotels

Bill history and actions:

  • December 8, 2016:  filed
  • February 23, 2017: Referred to  House Committee on State Affairs; first reading

Documents of Interest

Bastard Nation Actions

Notes 

(2)  SB 329 bill page

Initial Sponsors: Paul Bettencourt, Brian Birdwell, Craig Estes, Eddie Lucio, Jr, Charles Perry, Kel Seilger, Van Taylor. Kirk Watson

Bill History and Actions:

  • December 15, 2016: Filed; received by  Texas Secretary of State
  • January 30, 2017:  Referred to Senate Committee on State Affairs
  • March 27, 2017: Hearing before Senate Committee on State Affairs; left pending
  • March 30, 2017: Hearing before Senate Committee on State Affairs; testimony taken
  • April 3, 2017: Reported favorably, without amendments, out of committee on State Affairs
  • April 5, 2017: Placed on intent calendar
  • April 6, 2017: Placed again not on intent calendar

Documents of Interest

Bastard Nation Actions

Notes

Submitting group for both bills:

Support Texas Adoptee Rights (S.T.A.R.) (not affiliated with Bastard Nation)

(3) SB 1362  bill page

  • Blocker bill, known as “The Mothers’ Privacy Protection Act” was introduced on by l adoptive mother andlongtime  OBC access opponent Sen. Donna  Campbell, in an attempt to stop passage of clean SB 329/HB 547.  The bill creates a “simpler mechanism” by which an adoptee can access their OBC  “while empowering the birth parent with a voice in the process.”It creates  registry system in which a birthparent can either consent to release or veto release of the OBC and other identifying information. Language also indicates that  the bparents can control what information can be released. Campbell assumes reunion is the goal of OBC access and the bill requires 1 hour for counseling to prepare all parties for reunion as well as a written bio or history of each party, including photos or other visual media.  Campbell confuses OBC  access  with closed adoption. saying  the bill “protects and maintains closed adoptions for those who choose it.”

 

Initial Sponsor:  Sen. Donna Campbell

 Submitting Organization: sponsor

Bill History and Actions

  • March 6, 2017:  filed
  • March 16, 2017: 1st read; referred to State Affairs Committee
  • March 27, 2017:  Hearing, State Affairs Committee; left pending in committee
  • March 30, 2017:  Hearing, State Affairs Committee; left pending in committee
  • April 3, 2017: Reported favorably  without amendments out of State Affairs Committee

Documents of Interest

Bastard Nation Actions

Notes

WEST VIRGINIA

SB 53 bill page

 The bill permits access to the “adoption file. “It  contains a Contact Preference Form and a Disclosure Veto.  When an adoptee or lineal descendent  requests a copy of the file, the state will place the birthparent(s) “on notice” to inform them of their “responsibilities and options ” before the file is released. The bill does not include whate these procedures are  or what happens if there is no birthparent response.  Birthparent(s) submitting the CPF are required to include social and medical history forms.  The bill also abolishes the West Virginia Voluntary Adoption Registry.

Initial Sponsor:  Ryan Ferns, Ron Stollings

 Submitting Organization: 

Bill History and Actions

  • February 8, 2017: Introduced; forwarded  to Senate Judiciary Committee

Documents of Interest

Bastard Nation Actions

Notes

 

WISCONSIN

LRB-2023.PI bill page (not on line)

According to  Adoptee Equal Rightws Tak Force Wisconsin, it has submitted  an adoption law proposal for 2017,  LRB-2023/P1   “The core proposal is giving the right of all Wisconsin Adult Adoptees to request, without restrictions, an uncertified copy of their original, unaltered Original Birth Certificate, at age 18, or older.”

We will update when more information is available.

Initial Sponsor:  

 Submitting Organization:  Adoptee Equal Rights Task Force Wisconsin

Bill History and Actions

  • March 2, 2017:  AERTFW announces proposal

Documents of Interest

Bastard Nation Actions

Notes

******

This legislative update is reported by Lisa Zatonsky, Shea Grimm, Annette Marie, and Marley Greiner

Updated: April 17, 2017

Originally posted January 12, 2017

 

 

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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.