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Ohio Adoptee's Access to Records Law: A Retrospective

Access to Records: Archives

Update 12: April 15, 2013

ROAR! 2013 — Restore Ohio Adoptee Rights in 2013

IN THIS UPDATE
• H.B. 61 Passes the House 96-1!
• S.B. 23 Hearing THIS Wednesday – Note New Time 4 pm
• Next Steps
• Action Alerts: Things YOU CAN DO
• About the Bills

House Bill 61 Passes the House
H.B. 61 was scheduled for a vote on the floor of the Ohio House of Representatives on Wednesday, April 10, 2013. Sponsors Dorothy Pelanda and Nickie Anotonio spoke to the bill, what provisions it contains and why it is needed. No one spoke against the bill and there was no debate. The vote was taken and the bill passed 96-1! Thirty Four new co-sponsors signed on to the bill on the House floor, bringing the number of sponsors and co-sponsors to 68 of the 99 members!

Senate Bill 23 Hearing THIS Wednesday — Time Changed
Senate Bill 23 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Medicaid, Health and Human Services Committee, chaired by Senator Shannon Jones, on Wednesday April 17th now at 4:00 pm. We are the only bill on the agenda. At this hearing proponent (supporter) testimony will be heard. Several witnesses are scheduled to testify at the hearing. We are planning for this first proponent hearing to be mostly expert witnesses, witnesses that carry a specific message and people who need to travel in from out of state. We are trying to coordinate oral testimony to be sure the committee hears from people of a variety of backgrounds and that the messages are not repetitive.

We do not yet know how many Senate committee hearings there will be, which dictates how many spots there will be for in-person oral testimony to be given. We are keeping lists of people interested in testifying — Betsie Norris is keeping track of the adoptees, adoptive parents and professionals, and Kate Livingston is keeping track of the birthparents. If you have not yet expressed your interest and would like to, please contact them: betsie.norris@adoptionnetwork.org and katelivingstone@gmail.com. Everyone who desires will get to submit written testimony to the committee (this is different than writing a support letter).

If you would like to submit written testimony to the committee, everyone can do so.

We want to pack the room at each hearing, so please show up on the 17th if you can! The Hearing will be in the South Hearing Room (Room 231, Senate Building) at 4 pm.

Next Steps
Senate Bill 23 will have at least one more hearing (after this week’s) in the Senate Medicaid, Health and Human Services Committee before the committee votes on the bill. We will send an update when the date of the next hearing is known. The Senate Committee then votes on the bill, and if it is favorably reported out of committee, the next step is a vote on the floor of the Senate. Assuming it passes, and after any changes between the House and the Senate version are reconciled, it goes to the Governor for his signature.

ACTION ALERT: THINGS YOU CAN DO
1. Attend the April 17 hearing to show your support – 4 pm
2. Write to the members of the Senate Medicaid, Health and Human Services Committee – emails can be sent through the Committee's website, or see phone numbers below.
3. Be in touch as above if you’d like to testify in person at a hearing or submit written testimony.

Senate Medicaid, Health and Human Services Committee:
• Senator Shannon Jones (R), committee chair and SB 23 co-sponsor, 614-466-9737
• Senator Dave Burke (R), committee vice chair and SB 23 sponsor, 614-466-8049
• Senator Capri Cafaro (D), ranking minority member, 614-466-7182
• Senator Edna Brown (D), 614-466-5204
• Senator Randy Gardner (R), SB 23 co-sponsor, 614-466-8060
• Senator Kris Jordan (R), 614-466-8086
• Senator Peggy Lehner (R), 614-466-4538
• Senator Scott Oelslager (R), 614-466-0626
• Senator Charleta Tavares (D), SB 23 co-sponsor, 614-466-5131

ABOUT HB 61 and SB 23
Ohio Senate Bill 23, sponsored by Senators Beagle and Burke, and House Bill 61, sponsored by Representatives Pelanda and Antonio, were introduced February 2013. Senate Bill 23 was assigned to the Senate Medicaid, Health and Human Services Committee. House Bill 61 was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee

The proposed legislation would allow:
1. Ohio adoptees adopted 1964 to 1996* access to their Original Birth Certificate upon request at age 18, starting one year from bill passage date.
2. Ohio birthparents to file a Contact Preference Form specifying if and how they would like contact.
3. Ohio birthparents to complete and put on file an updated medical history for the adoptee.
*Adult adoptees from before 1964 in Ohio already have this right, as do the vast majority of adoptees after 1996.

To find your legislator, go to: http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/
Visit www.AdoptionEquityOhio.org and www.AdoptionNetwork.org for more information and previous updates.

Visit http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=tn_tnmn#!/pages/Adoption-Equity-Ohio/342147335870?fref=ts for media coverage and updates.

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