Ohio SB23 Update: Passes out of Senate Committee with Procedural Amendments

This morning SB23–now Sub(stitute) Bill 23, sailed through the Ohio Senate Medicaid, Health, and Human Services Committee, 8-0.

No substantive changes to the bill were made, but several amendments were added  to clarify procedures in the original bill. The sub bill is not online as of this writing, but should be available on the SB23 page shortly.

Sub 23:

  • Removes the 90-day deadline for the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) to mail the contents of an adoption file to the requesting adoptee.  The original bill time-framed the response window to 90 days, but ODH, fearful of  the time it will take to process the large influx of requests  it expects  immediately after the bill becomes law, asked that the time frame be removed
  • The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family  Services (ODJFS) will create the contact preference form  (cpf))as opposed to ODH, designated in the original bill.
  • Requires any previous release of information forms on file under current law to be released with the adoption file.
  • Deletes relatives “by marriage” from the definition of lineal descendant.  (Ex: .the adult child of a deceased adoptee can request the file, but his or her spouse cannot.).
  • Removes a provision prohibiting a birthparent from including identifying information in a social or medical history form..
  • Removes provisions requiring ODH to review any social/medical history forms and attempt to identify and remove inaccuracies . ODH argued rightfully  that it is in the business of collecting information, not ferreting out inaccuracies in that information. ODH also pointed out the amount of time such ferreting would entail.. 
  • Clarifies that contact preference forms and social and medical  history forms are to be considered part of the adoption file, and  as such are not public records.  That is, the cpf, just as the OBC, will not be available for public perusal.

Sub23 will now be sent to the Rules Committee and then on to the Senate floor for a full vote.

Since Sub 23 and HB61 are somewhat different,   if  Sub 23 passes in the Senate, the bill will be returned to the House for concurrence, then sent again to the House floor for a final vote.

If passed, then on to Governor John Kasich for his signature.

HB63 and Sub23 does the following:

  • Ohio adoptees adopted  January 1, 1964 -September 18, 1996, at the age of 18, can access, without restriction or condition  their OBC upon request, starting one year from passage date.  (Records are already accessible to all pre-1964 adoptees and to most adoptees post September 18, 1996. see below)
  •  Ohio birthparents  can, but are not required, to file a contact preference form specifying if and how they would like contact.  
  • Ohio birthparents can, but are not required, to put on file an updated medical history for the adopatee.

Neither bill addresses the Disclosure Veto added to Ohio access law in 1996 that authorizes birthparents to bar OBC access for those whose adoptions were processed after September 18, 1996. .  Veto language for ’96ers remains in the law and the handful of DVs on file remain in place; thus making it impossible for Ohio to become a truly free state.

Disclaimer:  This is not a Bastard Nation bill.

ROAR 2013 should published an update shortly.

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