CONDITIONAL OBC BILLS
MARCH 8, 2011
Caveat: This list is a “WORK IN PROGRESS.” There are so many changes made so quickly each day in the various legislatures that I cannot vouch for its 100% accuracy on any given day after it has been posted. However, I will try to keep this list as up-to-date as possible.
Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization opposes each and every one of these access bills that have been filed in their respective legislatures this session. We oppose them because they all put conditions & restrictions upon how and from whom an adoptee can obtain his original birth certificate. In each bill, the state retains power over some adoptees. Not one state restores to all adoptees their civil right to request and receive their obcs with no conditions and no falsifications.
The states reported here are: ARIZONA, CONNECTICUT, GEORGIA, HAWAII, ILLINOIS, INDIANA, MISSOURI, NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK, OKLAHOMA, TEXAS, VIRGINIA, WASHINGTON, WEST VIRGINIA, AND WISCONSIN.
ARIZONA – SB 1595
SB 1595 is similar to Texas in that it allows an adult adoptee to obtain a copy of his or her certified birth certificate if the adoptee provides the following: a) the name of the adoptee’s biological mother b) the adoptee’s date and place of birth; and c) payment of the applicable fee.
CONNECTICUT – BILL 890
ATTENTION: 3/10/11: A substitute Bill 890 has now been sent to the House Judiciary Committee. This is a clean bill. Supporters are asking everyone to write to the Judiciary Committee in support of this bill.
) On and after October 1, 2011, regardless of the date parental rights were terminated, any adult adopted person, twenty-one years of age or older, or if such person is deceased, an authorized applicant, as defined in subparagraph (D) of subdivision (3) of section 45a-743, may apply for and receive a copy of (1) the person's sealed original birth certificate or record pursuant to section 7-51, as amended by this act, and (2) any contact preference form attached to the sealed original birth certificate or record pursuant to section 7-51, as amended by this act. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to limit such person's or authorized applicant's access to information pursuant to this part.
This bill would provide adult adopted persons, twenty-one years of age or older, whose adoptions were finalized after October 1, 2012, with access to their biological parents' health information and information in the person's original birth certificate or record. This is a prospective bill and it contains a third-party disclosure veto.
A hearing was held on February 8, 2011
GEORGIA – HB 65
This bill was sponsored by Rep. Tom McCall, and it has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
The bill calls for nonidentifying medical information contained in adoption records be open to certain persons for purposes of providing medical treatment and diagnosis. A House Second Readers session called for Jan/26/2011. There is no report yet on this action
A clean bill was filed, but as of this writing, but very quickly it has been amended or changed in some way so that it is no longer an unconditional access bill.
ILLINOIS - HB 1255
This bill is meant to be a “trailer bill” –a bill that is written to clean up errors that have been discovered in a recently passed piece of legislation, i.e.: HB5428 that was passed into law in May, 2010.
Upon a first reading, there appeared to be in this bill a significant change who can be issued an obc. The Summary of the Bill states:
“Provides that the Registry may not release identity information when a birth parent is deceased and when the deceased birth parent's Birth Preference Form indicates that the birth parent did not allow the release of identifying information and did not want to be contacted by the birth child after the child attains the age of 21.”
I have been told by an associate of Representative Feigenholtz that this is an error, it should have not been in the bill and that it needs to be rewritten. BN will be watching and waiting for the correction. Several members of BN read this first page Summary and understandably reported that the conditions for releasing obcs had been changed from last year. Hopefully, this section of the Bill Summary will be removed as soon as possible.
Several things were targeted for “fixing,”
There is a provision in the new law that allows adoptees born after 1946 whose birth parents are already deceased to obtain their obc before next November if there is a death certificate on file for the birth parent who filed the denial/request for anonymity with the Registry. The newly passed law said that a death certificate could be filed by a "surviving relative" of the birth parent in order to get the obc before next November. But, when IDPH legal took a look at the bill, they decided that "adoptees" were not "technically" "surviving relatives" of birth parents. According to the legal dept., once relinquishment papers are signed, adoptees and birth parents are, technically, no longer relatives.
The new language in the vital statistics act makes sure that while the original birth certificate will not be available for inspection (i.e. sealed) until the adoptee reaches the age of 21, thereafter its status depends on the new law and not the previous vital statistics provisions.
The final provision needing “fixing” in HB 1255 is the new Birth Parent Preference Form to ensure that all birth parents can use the form to express an interest in contact, even if pre-1946 birth parents have no say in the release of their identifying information
INDIANA – HB 1255
This Bill passed the full House on February 20, 2011. It was sponsored by Representatives Karickhoff, Riecken, Welch, and Klinker.
HB 1255 concerns access to identifying information for adoptions. It repeals, effective July 1, 2012, provisions applicable to adoptions finalized before January 1, 1994, that prohibit the release of identifying adoption information unless a consent to release the information is on file. It also provides that, beginning July 1, 2012, identifying adoption information may be released unless a nonrelease is on
file, regardless of when the adoption was filed. (Under current law, this provision applies only to adoptions filed after December 31, 1993.)
MISSOURI – HB 427
HB 427 was sponsored by Representative Barnes.
For adoptions completed after August 28, 2011, the bill:
(1) Requires the juvenile court to provide each birth parent with a confidentiality preference form prior to the entry of any adoption decree;
(2) Requires, if a birth parent objects, the juvenile court to provide the form to the State Registrar, to be filed with the original birth certificate of the adopted person;
(3) Allows any adopted person who is at least 18 years of age, born in Missouri, and who provides proof of identification or the adopted person's descendants if the adopted person is deceased to obtain a copy of the adopted person's original birth certificate unless the birth mother or birth father has objected. If a birth
mother or birth father has objected, the person can request the Department of Social Services, the child-placing agency which processed the adoption, or the juvenile court personnel to make reasonable efforts to notify the birth mother and birth father of the request for its disclosure. The requestee may be charged for
the actual costs of attempting the notification;
(4) Requires, if the birth mother and birth father consent to the release of the original birth certificate, the Department of Social Services, the child-placing agency which processed the adoption, or the juvenile court personnel to obtain a copy of a notarized form signed by the birth mother and birth father, if known, giving consent to release the original birth certificate;
(5) Specifies that a copy of the original birth certificate cannot be released if the birth mother and birth father cannot be located or if they do not consent to its release. Another request for the release can only be made until at least three years after the original or any future request; and
(6) Specifies that a copy of the original birth certificate can be released upon the birth mother's and birth father's death.
For adoptions completed on or prior to August 28, 2011, the bill:
(1) Allows any adopted person who is at least 18 years of age, born in Missouri, and who provides proof of identification or the adopted person's descendants if the adopted person is deceased to obtain a copy of the adopted person's original birth certificate unless the birth mother or birth father has objected. If a birth
mother or birth father has objected, the person can request the Department of Social Services, the child-placing agency which processed the adoption, or the juvenile court personnel to make reasonable efforts to notify the birth mother and birth father of the request for its disclosure. The requestee may be charged for the actual costs of attempting the notification;
(2) Requires, if the birth mother and birth father consent to the release of the original birth certificate, the Department of Social Services, the child-placing agency which processed the adoption, or the juvenile court personnel to obtain a copy of a notarized form signed by the birth mother and birth father, if known, giving consent to release the original birth certificate;
(3) Specifies that a copy of the original birth certificate cannot be released if the birth mother and birth father cannot be located or if they do not consent to its release. Another request for the release can only be made until at least three years after the original or any future requests; and
(4) Specifies that a copy of the original birth certificate can be released upon the birth mother's and birth father's death.
NEW JERSEY A1406 & S799
As of this writing, New Jersey is close to voting on A1406, companion bill to S799 which already passed in the New Jersey Senate. Bastard Nation believes that these two bills are restrictive, discriminatory, create a new, special and temporary “right” for “birthparents” and exempts the state’s adopted adults from equal protection and treatment regarding the release of the government-generated public record of their birth. This bill contains:
A 12 month enrollment period that allows birthparents to file disclosure vetoes before obcs, past and future, are unsealed.
An “authorization for the state to replace the obc, of those subject to the Disclosure veto, with a mutilated copy with all identifying information deleted.
Requires birthparents who file a disclosure veto to submit a family history and a possibly illegal intrusive medical form to activate the veto.
Requires birthparents who file a “contact preference form” which in fact acts as a disclosure veto, to fill out the same family history and possibly illegal intrusive medical history form to activate the veto.
Seals by default all “safe haven” birth certificates even though most of these babies are born in hospitals to identified mothers.
Requires adoption agencies and lawyers to receive a written veto status report from the state before they can release identifying information to adoptees.
Requires the state to mount an “information” campaign to inform birthparents of their “protection options.”
NEW JERSEY A3672/S2586 (Alternative Bill)
These two bills, backed by the NCFA, the NJ RTL and the NJ ACLU, are even more restrictive. These bills call for a new Confidential Intermediary System. Supporters of AB 3672 claim that their bill provides protections against unsuccessful reunions and unwelcome upheaval.
NEW YORK – A02003, S0143
A02003 enact a Bill of Adoptee Rights clarifying language and procedures for obtaining birth certificates ad nmedical histories of adoptees.
S01438 Enacts bill of adoptee rights clarifying language and procedures for obtaining birth certificates and medical histories for adoptees
OKLAHOMA – HB 1748
Since 1939, the adoption act was vague enough to allow judges to open adoptees’ records when they wanted to. This new is all about medical records.
HB 1748 wants to weigh the rights of adoptees to their medical information against birth parent privacy.
Whichever side the judge thinks - wins. This new bill now puts birth parent privacy into the statutes when it was never there before.
The bill was passed 12 -0 out of the Human Services Committee.
TEXAS SB 287
SB 287 has been introduced into the legislature by Senator Lucio. It is really more of the same as is already written into current Texas Law.
This bill contains both a contact preference form and a disclosure veto which act alike – both forbidding issuance of an obc. The contact preference form contains 6 options for birth parents, only two of which are choices that give the adoptee permission from the birth parent to issue an obc.
Also, the bill contains a section which allows an adoptee to have a copy of the obc, w/out court order, if he/she can produce the names of both birth parents.
The bill has not been acted upon in either House as yet
VIRGINIA – HB 1868
As of February 23, 2011, the bill passed in both houses of the legislature with nearly unanimous vote in both houses.
Essentially, the bill requires that adoptees may only receive their obc by order of the Commissioner of Social Services or order of a circuit court.
NOTE: The original bill, before amendments, provided for the release of identifying information about an adult adopted person's birth parent or parents, unless the birth parent or parents can show good cause why such information should not be disclosed. This section was removed by a House amendment saying identifying information can come only by order of the Commissioner of Social Services or by order of a circuit court.
WASHINGTON – SB 5178
The State of Washington filed yet another restrictive bill, SB 528, in the Washington State Senate. The sponsors are Senators Carrel and Stevens. The bill has been assigned to the Committee on Human Services & Corrections. A first reading was scheduled for January 17, 2011.
SB 5178 removes a phrase from the current law: ““For adoptions finalized after October 1, 1993.” This single change holds great meaning for adopted adults. It means that an affidavit of nondisclosure for post ’93 birthparents will now be extended backwards to adoptions before 1993 as well. This change gives more birth parents special rights to refuse adult citizens access to their own birth documents.
WEST VIRGINIA – HB 223
ARTICLE 23 WILL CHANGE THE VOLUNTARY ADOPTION REGISTRY.
§48-23-503. Cases where disclosure of identifying information cannot occur; exception.
(a) In any case where the identity of the birth father was unknown to the birth mother, or where the administrator learns that one or both of the birth parents are deceased, this information shall be shared with the adult adoptee. In these kinds of cases, the adoptee will not be able to obtain identifying information through the registry, and he or she would be told of his or her right to pursue whatever right otherwise exists by law to petition a court to release the identifying information.
(b) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, in addition to the disclosure procedures provided in this article, an adoptee who is eighteen years of age or older may petition a court to release the names of the adoptee’s birth parents who are not registered in the voluntary CONDITIONAL OBC BILLS
WISCONSIN - ASSEMBLY BILL 12
This bill was filed on February 2, 2011; Introduced by Representatives KESTELL, MILROY, STONE, BARCA,BERNARD SCHABER, BEWLEY, BROOKS, D. CULLEN, DANOU, JORGENSEN, KESSLER, LEMAHIEU, PASCH, RIPP, SHILLING, SEIDEL, SINICKI, TURNER and VRUWINK. It is cosponsored by Senators LAZICH, JAUCH, LASSA and OLSEN. The bill has been referred to Committee on Children and Families.
In this bill, an adoptee can petition for restoration of birth parents’ names of birth certificates provided that birth parents and adoptive parents agree
Under current law, at the time a person is adopted the state registrar must prepare a new birth certificate for the adoptee unless the adoptive parents or the person being adopted objects. The new birth certificate must contain, among other information, the names and personal information of the adoptive parents, unless the court’s order of adoption indicates otherwise. When a new certificate is issued, the original certificate is impounded and may be accessed only by court order, with permission of the birth parents, or for processing purposes of the state registrar.
This bill allows an adult who has been adopted to petition the court to order the state registrar to prepare a new birth certificate based on information on the person’s original birth certificate if the person did not have the opportunity, at the time of the adoption, to request that a new birth certificate not be prepared; any adoptive parent who is alive and who is named on the person’s birth certificate does not object to the removal of his or her name from the birth certificate; and any birth parent who is alive and who is named on the person’s original birth certificate does not object to the restoration of the information on the person’s original birth certificate. Under the bill, if the court finds that all of those circumstances apply, the court must grant the petition. The state registrar must issue a new birth certificate.