Update 3: Feb. 14, 2013
ROAR! 2013 – Restore Ohio Adoptee Rights in 2013
Things are moving quickly. As you know from our last update Ohio Senate Bill 23, sponsored by Senators Beagle and Burke, and House Bill 61, sponsored by Representatives Pelanda and Antonio, were introduced Tuesday. Yesterday they were referred to Committees. 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.
We have just gotten word that Sponsor Testimony will be in the House Judiciary Committee at 3 pm Wednesday February 20th in the Ohio Statehouse, Room 121 (Columbus, Ohio – for parking information see the Adoption Equity Ohio website). Please plan to attend this hearing if you can – we want to pack the room with supporters and will have stickers you can wear to show your support! Sponsor Testimony consists of the bill sponsors speaking to why they are introducing this bill, what it covers, and why it is important. They will then answer questions from the committee members. No other witnesses for the bill will be heard at this hearing. See information on other hearings below in What to Expect.
We have been spending a lot of time (recently and over the last couple years to set the stage for a successful bill this year) talking to all of the other organizations and government departments that will have an interest in the bill and might take a stand on this issue, for or against. Most of these organizations have lobbyists and all are hugely influential. These are organizations such as: Ohio Right to Life, The Ohio Judicial Conference, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Public Children’s Services Association of Ohio, Ohio Association of Child Caring Agencies, The Catholic Conference of Bishops, staff in the Governor’s office, Ohio Department of Health, Ohio Adoption Planning Group, the National Center for Adoption Law and Policy, and more.
Things you can do to help:
• Attend Wednesday’s hearing.
• Write a letter to the adoption agency where your adoption initiated about your support for this bill and why it is important to you. Please include challenges you have faced because of the current laws. Ask them to support the bill.
• Write letters to the House and Senate committee members (links above).
• Contact your own State Representative and Senator, if you have not yet – or if you have, and they are a co-sponsor, thank them!
• Write letters to the editor of your local papers about these bills being introduced and why they are important to you. If you have a relationship with your paper, ask them to cover this issue.
• 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 4614 Prospect Avenue, Suite 550, Cleveland, OH 44103.
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.)