This map shows the status of bills that were introduced or enacted in states in the 2019 legislative sessions. This page has been archived effective September 15, 2019. Current state-level legislation is here. 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.
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. A conference committee worked out the differences and both chambers approved the final bill before the legislature adjourned on April 29, 2019. Governor Eric Holcomb signed the bill on May 5, and the new law became effective on July 1, 2019. The Adoptee Rights Law Center’s summary for Indiana has been updated to reflect new language of the amended law.
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. OBC for Massachusetts is advocating on behalf of the bills and is coordinating a lobby day on June 19. The Massachusetts legislature does not adjourn until November 20, 2019, and bills carryover to the next session.
A5494/S3419: PASSED! Clean bill known as the “Weprin/Montgomery Bill.” Assembly Member David Weprin and Senator Velmanette Montgomery introduced comprehensive equal rights legislation in 2019 that restores the rights of adult adoptees to request and obtain their own original birth certificates. The New York Adoptee Rights Coalition has more information about developments 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. The New York Assembly passed the legislation on June 20, 2019, and it is still awaiting delivery to the governor for signature. Governor Cuomo is expected to sign, and upon full enactment New York will become the tenth state to enact genuine unrestricted equal rights legislation for all adult adoptees. A breakdown of the bill and next steps is here, but consult the 2020 legislative map to follow the latest progress.
Bills that ain’t going anywhere. Dead.
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 as a clean bill was in serious doubt, and it died later in committee.
SB972: Clean bill that removes date-based restrictions. This is a sponsored 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. It has now passed the Senate after legislators rejected a last-minute proposed amendment. It faces an uphill fight in the House, as on the last day of the session it is in a crowded field of hundreds of bills seeking consideration. Access Connecticut is coordinating advocacy for the bill. The Connecticut legislature adjourns on June 5, 2019.
The House 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, 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 Senate companion bill, S832, was similarly introduced and was also gutted by a strike all amendment to make it conform to HB597. While it was reported out favorably from the Health Policy Committee, it appears to have died in the Senate Judiciary Committee, with the Florida legislature adjourning on May 3, 2019.
HF746/SF621: Dirty bills with birthparent redactions. SF621 was a clean bill when it hit the Senate floor—and until the Iowa Adoptee & Family Coalition agreed to the addition of dirty amendments. The bill now grants parents an unchallenged power to alter an adopted person’s original birth certificate—for now, for future adoptions, and forever, even after the parent dies. The Senate approved the discriminatory amendments by a vote of 50-0, but it died in the House without being considered for debate. The Iowa legislature adjourned for the session on April 27, 2019.
LD1688 Bill that seeks to end post-adoption “sealing” of birth records by issuing a single certificate of birth with additional adoption-related information printed on it. This bill attempts to eliminate the sealing of OBCs after an adoption by printing adoption information on the OBC itself—including the names of adoptive parents—and crossing out other information, such as the birth name if the name is changed as a result of adoption. It is prospective only and does not apply to persons adopted prior to October 1, 2019. Similar bills have been opposed in the past by LGBTQ+ legal advocates. After a public hearing in the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, the committee reported the bill out as “Ought Not to Pass.” It is considered dead. Truth in Adoption Maine is pursuing the bill.
SF2606/HF2906:Clean bills that dismantles Minnesota’s forty-plus-year history of compromise. SF2606/HF2906 are the first clean bills ever filed in Minnesota and they constitute 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 Senate bill is here. The Minnesota legislature adjourned its regular session on May 20, 2019, though the bills carry over to the 2020 session.
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.
HB2725: Clean bill with genuine contact preference form. Representative Gina Calanni of Houston introduced HB2725, a clean bill with a genuine contact preference form. The Public Health Committee heard the bill on April 10 but it failed to obtain enough affirmative votes to move out of the committee. Despite last-minute efforts by some advocates to push a dirty substitute bill forward, the Public Health Committee reported the bill out favorably without amendments at an unusual last minute meeting. Ultimately, HB2725 was not considered on the House floor before a May 9 deadline. It is now dead. The Texas legislature adjourns on May 27, 2019, and does not convene again until 2021.
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. The Judiciary approved amendments to the bill in committee but it did not otherwise move to consideration by the full Senate before the legislature adjourned.
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 made it to the House floor for vote but the legislature adjourned before that vote. Similarly, H3131 passed the House unanimously and was stuck in committee in the Senate when the legislature adjourned.