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Ohio Adoptee's Access to Records Law: A Retrospective

Access to Records: Archives

Update 17: Dec. 13, 2013

ROAR! 2013 – Restore Ohio Adoptee Rights in 2013

IN THIS UPDATE
• Recent Events Recap – THE BILL HAS PASSED!
• Action Alert: Things YOU CAN DO
• About the Bill

Recent Events Recap: THE BILL HAS PASSED!
After several months of inactivity, a substitute (amended) version of Senate Bill 23 has passed both in the Ohio House of Representatives (91-2 on Wednesday, Dec. 2) and the Ohio Senate (unanimously on Wednesday, Dec. 11)! The bill is on its way to the Governor for his signature for it to become law.

See below in the section “About the Bill” for a review of the version of the bill that passed, including changes made.

ACTION ALERT: THINGS YOU CAN DO
1. Contact Governor Kasich encouraging him to sign the bill! Here’s how:
• Online: Click on the following link and fill out the required information. In the message section, be sure to include that you are contacting the office in support of Substitute Senate Bill 23. http://www.governor.ohio.gov/Contact/ContacttheGovernor.aspx
• Phone: Call (614) 466-3555. When the office answers, indicate that you are calling in support of recently passed legislation. You will be transferred to an aide. Be sure to let the aide know you are calling in support of Substitute Senate Bill 23. You may be asked your name and contact information, however you do have the option of remaining anonymous.

2. It is not too late to make a financial contribution to help offset the costs of our efforts — you can do so by going towww.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 Substitute Senate Bill 23
Ohio Senate Bill 23, sponsored by Senators Bill Beagle and David Burke, and companion bill House Bill 61, sponsored by Representatives Dorothy Pelanda and Nickie Antonio, were introduced February of 2013. All sponsors have diverse personal connections to adoption. The legislation allows:

1. Ohio adoptees adopted 1964 to 1996* access to their Original Birth Certificate upon request at age 18, starting one year from bill enactment 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.
** Enactment is 90 days after the bill is signed, so records will be available one year after that. “Opening Day” is therefore expected in the spring of 2015.

The amended Substitute version of the bill includes the original contact preference and medical history provisions and adds a 1-year period in which a birthparent can request to have only their name redacted (whited out) from the birth certificate. After the 1-year period has expired, no birthparent may redact and adoptees from '64-'96 can begin to request their adoption files. This is NOT A DISCLOSURE VETO — all adoptees will receive the contents of their adoption files. Other new provisions include: mandating that birthparents who redact submit a social and medical history form; permitting birthparents to un-redact at any time; adding a mechanism for adoptees to request updates on medical history from birthparents who redacted; and allowing adoptees born in Ohio but adopted out-of-state and adoptees born out-of-state but adopted in Ohio to request their adoption files. While the redaction portion is not what we had hoped for, we are encouraged that, in practice, the sub bill will function in a way that retains the integrity of the bill. We thank Senators Beagle and Burke for fighting a good fight in the Senate!

Our Impact This Year

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