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Ohio Adoptee's Access to Records Law: A Retrospective

Access to Records: Archives

Update 13: April 19, 2013

ROAR! 2013 – Restore Ohio Adoptee Rights in 2013

IN THIS UPDATE
• Senate Committee Hearing Recap
• Next Steps
• Action Alerts: Things YOU CAN DO
• About the Bills

Senate Bill 23 Committee Hearing Recap
An excellent written review of the hearing published by the Hannah News Service, and all testimony, oral and written, from the hearing can be found at: http://www.adoptionnetwork.org/senate-hearing-2-proponent-testimony.aspx

We had another fantastic hearing on Wednesday! The following people testified in person:
• Ohio Adoptees: Wendy Blitzer Barkett from Texas, Jeffrey Costello from Atlanta, Erin Hopkins McHugh, Stephen Kelly, and Julia Derry.
• Former Maine State Senator and adoptee Paula Benoit
• University of Baltimore Law Professor Elizabeth Samuels
• iHS Adoption Training Manager and Ohio Adoption Planning Group Co-chair Betsy Keefer Smalley
• Catholic Conference of Ohio Government Relations Director Jim Tobin
• Ohio Right to Life Legislative Director Kayla Smith
In addition, the following submitted written testimony:
• Cleveland Clinic Genomic Medicine Institute Director Dr. Charis Eng
• Ohio Adoptee Sonya Kimball
• Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services Administrator Patricia Rideout
• American Adoption Congress representatives Paul Schibbulhute and Frederick Greenman, Jr., Esq.,
• Evan B. Donaldson Institute Director Adam Pertman
• NARAL Legislative Director Jaime Miracle

Next Steps
There will be a brief hearing at 9 am on Wednesday, April 24, on the bill in the Senate Medicaid, Health and Human Services Committee in the South Hearing Room (Room 231) in the Senate Building, at which time the amendments, as discussed below, will be introduced and the bill will likely be voted out of committee. The committee is not asking for testimony at this hearing. Assuming all goes well, the bill will likely be on the Senate floor shortly after that.

There will be some minor amendments to the bill that DO NOT affect the substance of the bill but are designed to make the process and flow of paperwork relating to the Contact Preference Forms and Birthparent Medical History less cumbersome for the Ohio Department of Health. The amendments may take the form of a substitute bill being introduced.

ACTION ALERT: THINGS YOU CAN DO
1. Attend the April 24 hearing to show your support
2. Write to the members of the Senate Medicaid, Health and Human Services Committee – emails can be sent through the senate website: http://www.ohiosenate.gov/committee/medicaid-health-and-human-services, see phone numbers below.
3. Make a financial contribution to help fund our efforts — you can do so by going to www.adoptionnetwork.org/roar2013.aspx or by mailing a check made out to Adoption Network Cleveland, specifying ROAR! 2013 in the memo line, to the address in my email signature below.

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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