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Ohio Adoptee's Access to Records Law: A Retrospective

Access to Records: Archives

Update 14: April 28, 2013

ROAR! 2013 – Restore Ohio Adoptee Rights in 2013

IN THIS UPDATE
• SB 23 Final Committee Hearing Recap: PASSED!
• Next Steps
• Action Alerts: Things YOU CAN DO
• About the Bills

Senate Bill 23 Final Committee Hearing Recap
We are thrilled to report that SB 23 was passed unanimously out of the Senate Medicaid, Health and Human Services Committee after a brief hearing on Wednesday, April 24th. The committee approved minor logistical amendments to the bill (now known as Substitute SB 23) designed to make the process and flow of paperwork less cumbersome for the Ohio Department of Health. These amendments do not compromise the substance of the original bill in any way. Additionally, two more members of the committee, Capri Cafaro (D) and Edna Brown (D), have signed on as co-sponsors of SB 23. We now have the bipartisan support of two sponsors and 12 co-sponsors in the 33-person Senate!

We are very grateful to Senator Shannon Jones, the chair of the Medicaid, Health and Human Services Committee, for scheduling this last SB 23 hearing just to vote our bill out of committee. As was the case with the HB 61 hearings under the leadership of Rep. Jim Butler, the SB 23 hearings were very positive experiences for our supporters. Those who testified received many supportive and affirming comments from Chair Jones and other members of the Senate committee.

Next Steps
Now that SB 23 has passed out of committee, the full Senate needs to take up our bill for a vote. We are not sure what the timing will be on this and expect that there may be some delay at this stage as the Ohio legislature is deep into its budget negotiations. It is not expected that the Senate will be moving many non-budget related bills to the floor for a vote in the near future. We will remain in close communication with our sponsors and the Senate leadership about when we might expect a vote on the floor of the Senate.

As is customary when there are companion pieces of legislation, House and Senate leadership will work together and decide which of our two bills will be used as the legislative vehicle. These decisions get made at various times in the legislative process and involve a lot of different factors. We are supportive of both pieces of legislation and all four of our wonderful sponsors. We look forward to supporting whichever bill ultimately becomes law.

ACTION ALERT: THINGS YOU CAN DO
• Help build our legislation endorsements for HB 61 and SB 23 by sharing the ROAR 2013 endorsement form with the organizations, agencies, groups and businesses you work with. We are particularly interested in organizations who do work in the fields of adoption, foster care, child welfare and youth services, law, health, genetics, psychology, social work, genealogy and other related fields. Download our legislative endorsement form by clicking here.
• 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.

ABOUT HB 61 and SB 23
Ohio Senate Bill 23, sponsored by Senators Bill Beagle and David Burke, and House Bill 61, sponsored by Representatives Dorothy Pelanda and Nickie Antonio, were introduced February 2013. All sponsors have diverse personal connections to adoption. 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.

• House Bill 61 was passed by the Ohio House of Representatives by a vote of 96-1 on April 10, 2013. The passage of HB 61 was preceded by a unanimous vote out of the House Judiciary Committee on March 13th, 2013. Read HB 61 proponent testimony.
• Senate Bill 23 was passed unanimously out of Senate Medicaid, Health and Human Services Committee on April 24, 2013. It currently awaits the opportunity for a full vote by the Ohio Senate. Read SB 23 proponent testimony.

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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