Update 6: Feb. 22, 2013
ROAR! 2013 – Restore Ohio Adoptee Rights in 2013
The next hearing for House Bill 61 has been scheduled for 3 pm Wednesday March 6th. The Judicial Committee will be starting hearing proponent testimony at that time . We have been asked to coordinate testimony. We are seeking both experts in the field and people personally touched by the bill to testify at this hearing.
• Birthparent testimony is being coordinated by Kate Livingston of Ohio Birthparent Group, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Adoptee and Adoptive Parent testimony is being coordinated by Betsie Norris of Adoption Network Cleveland, email@example.com (we are looking for a volunteer to help with coordinating this, let me know if you are interested)
• Professional and expert witness testimony is also being coordinated by Betsie Norris
For this hearing we are hoping to coordinate lots of birthparents, adoptees and adoptive parents to each testify briefly, although written testimony can be longer. We will help to prepare you, and will be glad to make the 50 copies of your testimony that we ask you bring to the hearing.
We also need lots of supporters to attend this hearing – please join us! House Bill 61 will likely be the focus of the full hearing.
In addition, we are in great need of funds to help this effort be successful. Bringing in expert witnesses from other states can only be done if we have the funds to do it. PLEASE consider donating to this cause using the link in the bullet point below. We will only be successful if we have the resources we need! The time is now.
Things you can do to help:
• Contact the appropriate person above to help prepare your testimony.
• Make a financial contribution to help fund our efforts – you can do so by going to www.adoptionnetwork.org/donate 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.
What to expect:
The bills will take several months or longer to get through the process. Both of the assigned committees meet on Wednesday afternoons. (We will let people know when hearings are scheduled – it will be important for us to pack the room for each hearing!) All hearings (except the first in each committee which is sponsor testimony) will have public testimony – often for several hearings and sometimes separated out by those who are for (proponents), against (opponents) and neutral (interested party). It will be important to have lots of proponents – people like you to come forward and talk about why this is important to you and your family.
At the final committee hearing in which they are taking testimony on the bill, the committee votes to pass the bill on to a vote of the full House or Senate, or not to (in which case the bill dies). To ultimately become law the bill needs to pass committee (a positive vote by a majority of the committee members), get a majority of the votes on “the floor” of the full House and Senate, and be signed by the Governor. The legislature works in two year terms. This term just started and goes through December 2014. Our bills could take from a minimum of a few to several months to a maximum of 23 months to go through. For more information on the legislative process go to www.AdoptionEquityOhio.org.
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.)