This map shows the status of active bills introduced in current legislative sessions or bills that have been enacted into law but are being implemented. Status is current as of April 16, 2019. Click on a state for more details, which appear below the map. Additional OBC-related maps are available here. Comments/corrections can be sent to [email protected].
Bills that are still active and could be enacted this session. Federal bills, typically related to issues of intercountry adoption, are listed here.
HB2267: Clean bill with contact preference form. Representative Frank Carroll, who represents constituents in Maricopa County, introduced HB2698, a clean bill that contained a genuine contact preference form. It failed to make it out of committee to meet a crossover deadline and is now dead. Nevertheless, a strike all amendment to another active bill in the Senate revived the language from HB2698 and it is now HB2267. A hearing in the Senate Transportation and Public Hearing Committee on March 20, however, did not go well, with members of the committee hostile to the bill and its approach. While it passed the committee 4-3 as a new strike-all bill, its future—at least as a clean bill—is in serious doubt. The Arizona legislature adjourns on April 27, 2019.
SB972: Clean bill that removes date-based restrictions. This is a raised bill from the Joint Planning and Development Committee, co-chaired by Senator Steve Cassano, a proponent of clean adoptee rights bills in Connecticut. The bill removes date-based restrictions in current law related to obtaining an OBC of adoptees whose adoptions were finalized prior to 1983. Cassano’s committee heard the bill on March 15, 2019, and it has been reported out favorably by a vote of 16-6. It has now been referred out of legislative staff offices as File No. 597, with a fiscal note and research analysis, as well as some minor language and logistical changes. While it was briefly on the Senate calendar, it has since been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Access Connecticut is coordinating advocacy to support the bill. The Connecticut legislature adjourns on June 5, 2019.
HB597/S832: Previously dirty bill that has been reduced to non-substantive technical amendments. This bill, sponsored by Rep. Richard Stark, started out as a dirty bill that would have mandated reunion with at least one birth parent before an adult adoptee can apply for the original birth certificate. Adoptee Rights Law Center opposed the bill and requested Rep. Stark to withdraw the bill. That letter is here. At a subcommittee hearing in mid-March Rep. Stark introduced a “strike all” amendment that gutted the bill and substituted technical amendments that do not change Florida law but will likely negatively impact future efforts to enact clean legislation in the state. It was reported out favorably from the full Health and Human Services Committee and passed the House unanimously on April 11. More information about the current amended bill is here. A companion bill, S832, was similarly introduced and was also gutted by a strike all amendment. It is now identical to HB597 and was reported out favorably from the Health Policy Committee on April 8, 2019. It has now been referred to Judiciary. The Florida legislature adjourns on May 3, 2019.
SB197: Repair bill. This bill cleans up part of the mess of the law enacted in Indiana, which you can see in its current complications here. The bill mandates the release of “identifying information”—which may include the OBC—from certain entities if they possess the information. Lisa Zatonsky of Bastard Nation has a breakdown of the issue here. The bill passed the Senate and was also approved by the House with amendments. It has been returned to the Senate for approval of those amendments, which do not affect the issue related to release of identifying information. The Indiana legislature adjourns on April 29, 2019.
HF746/SF515: Clean bill with genuine contact preference form. Things were initially a little confusing in Iowa with all the various bills, but this is now currently clear: HF746 and SF515 are clean companion bills with genuine contact preference forms. HF746 is the latest iteration of earlier bills bandied about in the House— it is currently on the House floor calendar. SF515 has been voted out of Judiciary and the Ways and Means Committee and it is now on the Senate floor calendar. The House bill was initially listed on the daily “debate eligible” calendar for April 11 but has been removed pending a potential dirty amendment that would allow a birthparent to petition the court to keep the OBC sealed “for good cause.” The Iowa Adoptee & Family Coalition is advocating for the bills but its position on supprorting dirty amendments is not known. My breakdown of the bill as currently written is here, and it deserves adoptee support. The Iowa legislature adjourns on May 3, 2019.
Prior bills are still listed on the Iowa website but have been replaced by succeeding or clean bills. This includes HF53, a badly discriminatory bill, and both SF126 and HF528, clean bills that have now been replaced by those on the House and Senate calendars. One other bill, HF137 addresses court adoption records and provides, among other provisions, for the release of adoption records upon filing an affidavit from an adult adoptee requesting the records. It is also dead.
H.1892/S.1267: Clean bill that removes date-based restrictions. This is the same short and sweet bill (14 words long) from prior sessions that closes a date-based loophole in current Massachusetts law, eliminating the discriminatory provision that denies an unrestricted right to the OBC for adoptees who were adopted between 1974 and 2008. H.1892 has been referred to the Joint Committee on Public Health. The Massachusetts legislature does not adjourn until November 20, 2019, and bills carryover to the next session.
SF2606: Clean bill that dismantles Minnesota’s forty-plus-year history of compromise. SF2606 may be the first clean bill ever filed in Minnesota and it constitutes a necessary step toward dismantling a complex system that has existed in Minnesota since 1977—which I’ve frequently written about, including here and here. A detailed memo explaining each of the sections in the bill is here. SF2606 will be difficult to move forward this session unless it is attached to an omnibus bill toward the end of the session. While it has been referred to the Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee, it is not expected to be heard. The Minnesota legislature adjourns on May 20, 2019.
A5494/S3419: Clean bill known as the “Weprin/Montgomery Bill.” Assembly Member David Weprin and Senator Velmanette Montgomery introduced a comprehensive clean bill that would restore the rights of adult adoptees to request and obtain their own original birth certificates. A5494 has nearly 70 co-sponsors in the Assembly, more than enough to pass, and a slew of organizations in support. The New York Adoptee Rights Coalition has summarized the bill here. It is an unrestricted rights bill and also addresses descendant access as well as access to OBCs held by the New York City Department of Health. It is currently in the Health Committee in both chambers. The New York legislature adjourns on June 19, 2019.
Two other bills have been filed, including Republican Senator Andrew Lanza’s S2222, a clean bill, and A2691, which is Assembly Member Michael Benedetto’s bill. Proponents of A2691 call it the “Respect for Adoption” bill, likely because it alters the OBC and places adoptive parent names on the certificate. Both the Lanza bill and the Benedetto bill are considered dead.
HB2725: Clean bill with genuine contact preference form. Representative Gina Calanni of Houston has introduced HB2725, a clean bill with a genuine contact preference form. It is currently in the Public Health Committee awaiting calendaring for a hearing. More information and a summary of the bill is available from the Texas Adoptee Rights Coalition (TXARC). It failed an initial vote after a hearing in the House Public Health Committee, and it is now considered dead. Adoptee Rights Law Center, Equality4Adoptees, Gladney Adoptees for Rights and Equality (GLARE), and Bastard Nation are core members of TXARC. The Texas legislature adjourns on May 27, 2019.
Bills that ain’t going anywhere.
SB2045: Bill with 21 year wait period before allowing release of OBC. This is the third consecutive year for an OBC bill to be introduced in Mississippi, but this time Senator Angela Burks Hill has introduced a bill that provides for the release of a “certified copy of the person’s original birth certificate that is clearly marked ‘cancelled and revised’ if at least twenty-one (21) years have passed since the issuance of a revised birth certificate.” Though the bill’s online description indicates release at age 21, the bill would not typically allow release until 21 years after adoption. Adoptees whose adoptions were finalized prior to July 1, 1998, would get immediate release upon enactment, and release for others will depend on the date of adoption but no more than 21 years after that adoption. The bill is dead, having failed to move out of committee.
AB375: Dirty bill requiring the death of birthparents. This bill would release a noncertified copy of a document “similar in form” to a birth certificate to an adoptee who 1) is at least 21 years of age and 2) whose birthparent(s) named on the original birth certificate are dead. The bill further limits the scope of information on the “similar” birth certificate to the name of the adopted person at birth, date of birth, county of birth, and the names and ages of the birthparents at the time of the adoptee’s birth. The bill does not specify how an adult adopted person provides or shows proof of death of any birthparent(s) named on the actual OBC. It was introduced at the end of March and died in the Committee on Health and Human Services. Its primary sponsors were Assemblywoman Alexis Hansen and Assemblyman Al Kramer.
HB2313/SB300: Dirty bills with birthparent redaction requests. SB300 and its companion are dirty bills that allow birthparents to file name redaction requests. If filed, the request would operate to redact a birthparent’s name on the OBC. It made it through the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee with committee substitutions, which added definitions but otherwise kept the bill dirty. It died, however, after being converted to a study resolution, and the West Virginia session ended on March 9. Worth noting is HB2188, which is unrelated to OBCs but provides the right of an adult adoptee to petition a court to annul an adoption. It also died, having not received a hearing.
SB6: Intercountry adoptee birth information. This bill would address alleged inaccuracies in a certificate of foreign birth related to intercountry adoptees, allowing adoptive parents to petition a court to correct inaccurate information. The bill also changes some language in Alabama’s current unrestricted OBC statute for domestic adoptees but the changes are nominal and do not change the substance of that portion of the law. It has now been referred to the Judiciary Committee.
Unpublished bill that seeks to repeal the sealing of birth records and issuing a single certificate of birth with additional adoption-related provisions. This bill has allegedly been filed but its initial draft apparently has died without getting fully introduced. A substitute bill has been drafted which attempts to eliminate the sealing of OBCs by printing adoption information on the OBC and crossing out certain information on the OBC. As of April 8 2019, no bill has yet been published. The bill has been opposed in the past by LGBTQ+ legal advocates and is not expected to move, though the redrafted bill is now under consideration, as discussed by Truth in Adoption Maine on Facebook.
S492. Makes modifications to intercountry adoption procedures as well as allows release of certain court adoption records. This bill does not change the law in North Carolina that seals and makes an OBC unavailable to domestic adult adoptees. It modifies readoption procedures for intercountry adoption and allows release of records from the court if the release is to a person who originally filed the record.
S181/H3131: Non-identifying medical history. These bills, added here only for information, are a little strange and confusing. While they modify current South Carolina law and allow birthparents to provide non-identifying medical history to a “prospective adoptive parent,” the adoptee may later access the information, but only at age 18 or, if the adoptive parents wish to obtain the information while the adoptee is a minor, by court petition. It’s odd to have non-identifying information available at age of majority or, if earlier, only by court order so long as it is in the adoptee’s “best interest.” S181 has passed the Senate unanimously and is now in the Judiciary Committee in the House. Similarly, H3131 passed the House unanimously and is now in committee in the Senate, though the bills have very little substantive differences.