California Assembly Bill 1302 is a threat to adoptee rights in California and across the country. Here’s what you should know and what you can do.
Current Status | Understand the Bill | Submit a Position Letter | Social Media | Email Committee Members | Organized Opposition | Messaging | Sign Up for Updates
- Latest Info: Updated as of March 22, 2023.
- Where Is It? AB1302 is currently in the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
- Last Action: The bill was set for hearing in the Assembly Judiciary Committee on March 21, but the author (Assemblymember Tom Lackey) pulled it from consideration, likely because of widespread opposition.
- What’s Next?: It’s unclear if the bill will be reset for hearing. We are monitoring the latest developments.
- Latest Version. The bill has been amended once. The current draft of the bill is here (and discussed below).
- Legislative Bill Analysis: Committee staff have prepared a bill analysis of AB1302, which is here. As they did in 1990 and in 2001, the bill analysis raised state constitutional questions.
Understand the Bill
Our description and analysis of AB1302 is updated at least every day whenever there are changes in the status of the bill.
AB-1302. A bad bill as introduced; a dumpster fire bill after amendments. California could be the crown jewel of states if we ever flip it from restricted rights to equal rights. It has the most adopted people of any state and has been one of the most restricted states in the country for decades (it was the first state to seal original birth records, making them unavailable to the adult adopted person later). But it’s a nightmare when a bill pops up from nowhere and is chock full of discriminatory provisions. That’s what AB-1302 was initially—except it’s even worse now after a substantial rewrite. The introduced bill contained court involvement to request your own own birth certificate plus the right of birthparents to file a “disclosure preference form” with two choices: 1) disclose personal identifying information on the original certificate of birth; or 2) redact personal identifying information on the original certificate of birth. The amended version now adopts a legal framework equivalent with bad 1970s sitcoms (see, e.g., Minnesota’s current law or, if you like, “Me and the Chimp“). It retains court involvement and creates a massive bureaucracy centered around one thing: contacting birthparents by “certified or registered mail, restricted delivery, and return receipt requested.” The hand-delivered government notices ask birthparents their opinions on releasing the adopted person’s birth record. From there it just gets more complicated, with a second notice required “150 days or 3 months later, whichever is sooner,” after which there are three general results: 1) release of the OBC if all parents on the birth record agree in writing; 2) redaction of one of two listed birth parents if only one parent agrees in writing; 3) no release at all if nobody bothers to sign for or respond to the certified letter at all (or it’s not deliverable). The bill is also prospective as well as retroactive, though the birth record is released if birthparents are verified as deceased. The bill is an absolute mess, and its rating has now changed from unacceptable to flaming dumpster fire. Assembly Member Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) is the prime sponsor, and it has three co-authors, one of whom is a Democrat. It has been assigned to be heard first in the Judiciary Committee. It was set for hearing on March 21, but the author pulled the bill from consideration, likely after significant opposition. Adoptees United has a sign-up specifically for those interested in getting involved in California, as well as a page with centralized information and resources.
Submit a Position Letter
Use the California Legislature’s Position Letter portal to register your opposition to AB1302. It is here and requires registration. Our video below demonstrates how to create an account and register your position.
Email Committee Members
The emails for Assembly Judiciary Committee members are listed below. We will add/remove emails as needed.
Social Media Resources
We will provide additional social media resources and images to share as they are developed. Hashtag(s) to use: #NoAB1302
Organizations Opposed to AB1302
If you are an organization or group who wishes to be listed here and on a joint opposition letter, join us here. Organizations listed below are in alphabetical order.
Adoptee Rights Law Center PLLC
Adoptees United Inc.
American Adoption Congress
Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization
Capitol Coalition for Adoptee Rights
New England Adoptee Rights Coalition
New York Adoptee Rights Coalition
Texas Adoptee Rights Coalition
Modify the message as it fits you and to indicate whether you are a constituent or are connected to the state and issue (e.g., you are a California-born adopted person).
Dear Assembly Member [Last Name]:
[I am your constituent and live in [Name of City/Town] at [Address]. I am an [adopted person/birthparent/adoptive parent/other allied identity]. I strongly oppose AB1302, which has been introduced in the Assembly and is assigned to the Judiciary and Health Committees. It is a discriminatory bill and treats adult adopted people as second-class citizens by denying them any meaningful right to a copy of their own birth records, even as adults. California is an outlier on this issue and is far behind such diverse states as Alaska, Kansas, New York, Vermont, Alabama, Louisiana, Oregon, and other states which recognize the inherent right of people to know who they are and where they are from by providing them with an unaltered copy of their own pre-adoption birth certificate.
I ask that you oppose AB1302 and vote against if it comes before you.
This is an extremely important issue for me and for my family. I ask that you review the bill and let me know as soon as possible whether I have your support in opposing AB1302.
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