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Update 10: March 16, 2013

ROAR! 2013 – Restore Ohio Adoptee Rights in 2013

• House Bill 61 Passes Committee Unanimously!
• Next Steps
• Action Alerts: Things YOU CAN DO
• About the Bills

House Bill 61 Passes Committee Unanimously!
The House Judiciary Committee had a third and final hearing on HB 61 on Wednesday March 13. The committee heard testimony from Betsie Norris, executive director Adoption Network Cleveland and then unanimously passed the bill out of committee. Kate Livingston, founder of Ohio Birthparent Group, three birth mothers, and the Catholic Conference were also scheduled to testify in support of the bill, but as the hearing had been delayed over 2 hours, submitted written testimony instead. There was no opponent (against) or interested party (neutral) testimony. Many other adoptees, birthparents and adoptive parents also submitted written testimony in support of the bill to the committee prior to the hearing.

The 12 committee members were enthusiastic when voting, and the room full of supporters who waited out the two hour delay, shed tears and burst into applause after the vote.

For the Hannah News Service report on the committee hearing, visit https://sites.google.com/site/adoptionequityohio/home-new/stories-and-information/hannahreportonhb-61.

House Bill 61 now goes to the floor of the Ohio House of Representatives for a vote. This could happen as soon as this week, or could take several weeks or longer – this is up to House Speaker Bill Bachelder.

Senate Bill 23 was originally scheduled to have a hearing on Wednesday March 20, but this has now been changed. The bill WILL NOT be heard on that date. The next hearing in the Senate Medicaid, Health and Human Services Committee on SB 23 will most likely be the second or third week of April, as the legislators are on spring break for two weeks after this week. We will keep you posted when this hearing is scheduled.

• Write to your State Representative asking them to VOTE YES when House Bill 61 is brought to the floor for a vote. All 99 Representatives need to hear from their constituents on this issue. See below how to find your Representative.
• Write to the members of the Senate Medicaid, Health and Human Services Committee, or submit written testimony through the committee chair’s office. Be in touch with Betsie Norris if you’d like to testify in person at a hearing.
• 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 the legislation:
Ohio Senate Bill 23, sponsored by Senators Beagle and Burke, and House Bill 61, sponsored by Representatives Pelanda and Antonio, were introduced February 12, 2013. Senate Bill 23 was assigned to the Senate Medicaid, Health and Human Services Committee and House Bill 61 was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.

The bills will allow:
• Ohio adoptees adopted 1964 to 1996* access to their Original Birth Certificate upon request at age 18, starting one year from bill passage date.
• Ohio birthparents to file a Contact Preference Form specifying if and how they would like contact.
• 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, visit: http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/
For more information, visit: www.adoptionequityohio.org/

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