Overview of state-level adoptee rights legislation introduced or enacted in the 2021-2022 legislative sessions. Federal legislation related to adopted people is here. Current state-level legislative efforts are here.
Map and Bill Descriptions
Color Key (some bills are awaiting final implementation or have carried over from 2021 to 2022).
2022 Adoptee Rights Legislation (Domestic)
Summaries and analysis provided by Gregory D. Luce. Bills with a globe icon indicate the bill impacts intercountry adoptees. This is an archived map that was last updated on November 15, 2022.
Active State Bills
Currently active bills are listed on the current state-level adoptee rights legislation page.
Enacted into Law
Enacted into law in 2022 or enacted previously and effective in 2022.
HB2921/SB1831. [ENACTED] Bill that replaces a previously vetoed bill. It creates a donut hole, excluding and discriminating against adoptees born between June 1968 and 2022. Late-introduced bills late in a long-running, bizarre, and hyperpartisan Arizona legislative session. The bills “replaced” HB2070, a previously vetoed bill discussed below. SB1831 “repassed” the Senate by a vote of 17-13, meaning it actually lost additional support since the Governor’s veto of HB2070. It subsequently passed the House on a vote of 49-7 (4 not voting), and Governor Doug Ducey signed the bill into law on June 29. It becomes effective September 28, 2021, and the date-based requests for the OBC may be made beginning January 1, 2022.
The bills are discriminatory and exclude adopted people who are born between June 20, 1968, and December 31, 2021, creating a donut hole for the vast majority of Arizona adoptees. Those whose births fall into the 53-year donut-hole period will have no right, apart from securing a court order, to obtain their own birth records. The vast majority of adoptee rights advocates and allies oppose the bill, which has little support from Arizona-born adoptees. The bill was driven by a conservative anti-abortion organization, though Heritage Arizona and the Adoptee Rights Coalition also supported and cheerleaded the discriminatory exclusions contained in the bill. The Adoptees United board, along with 37 other state and national organizations, endorsed opposition to the bills.
HB2010 [ENACTED]. Requires that supplemental information added to an adoptee’s file be sent to the adoptee. This bill involves de-identified “supplemental information” that a birthparent or any member of a birth family may provide to the agency or person responsible for the adoption. If such supplemental information is received, the adoption agency or person who receives the information must notify the adoptee, if at least 18 years of age, or the adoptive parents if the adoptee is a minor, of the receipt of the information. The bill also carries an emergency measure regarding foster care reentry for youth who were discharged from foster care on account of COVID-19 restrictions. The bill passed both chambers, and Governor Doug Ducey signed it into law on March 18, 2021.
S1320 Requires use of the state’s adoption information registry to control release of an adopted person’s own birth record, but creates birthparent redaction rights and applies only to adoptions finalized after July 1, 2022. This is a committee-initiated bill that comes out of the Judiciary and Rules Committee, which last session sought amendments to a different (though also) prospective-only bill. This new bill, however, is a mess. First, it is prospective only for adoptions finalized on or after July 1, 2022, so realistically the bill would not be effective for adult adopted people until the late 2030s and early 2040s. In addition, it requires use of Idaho’s Voluntary Adoption Registry, which currently mandates matches between participants before any information is released (and birthparents can also ask that no information be released). If there is a match, a waiting period of a “minimum” of 30 days goes into place, where the birthparent has the option to express a preference for contact. Nevertheless, one option—which contradicts the primary purpose of all “mutual consent” adoption registries—is the birthparent’s right to request and secure redaction of their information on the adoptee’s original birth record. In addition, the bill is riddled with internal inconsistencies. It is silent on what happens if the birthparent does not respond during the so-called 30-day “cooling off” period. It does not indicate what happens if the birthparent previously requested to be withdrawn from the registry or if they requested no information be released, even after death; and it does not address the issue of two birthparents listed on the birth record, as current law prohibits registry matching unless the other birthparent is deceased or is found and consents to release. Finally, and alarmingly, the adoption registry requirements attempt to include limitation of rights for intercountry adoptees who, after an adoption is finalized in Idaho, are issued a certificate of foreign birth. This specific provision defies common sense: intercountry adoptees do not have an original birth record on file with the vital statistics office in Idaho—they were born outside of the United States. Plus, the law governing eligibility to participate in the registry applies only to adopted people born in Idaho. For all these reasons (and likely more), S1320 earns a deserved sh*tstorm rating. It was heard in the Judiciary and Rules Committee on February 21 and sent to the full Senate, where on March 1 it passed on a 30-0-2 vote. It was reported out with a DO PASS recommendation from the House Judiciary, Rules & Administration Committee and was subsequently passed by the House on a 67-0-3 vote. The legislature transmitted the bill to Governor Brad Little on March 22, 2022, and despite an effort to secure a veto of the bill, he signed it on March 28. It becomes effective July 1, 2022, for all adoptions finalized on or after that date.
SF589/HF855 [ENACTED] Discriminatory law that creates redaction rights through a corrupt contact preference form. Iowa has tried to enact a bill over the past few years, each time moving forward but either starting out or ending up with a discriminatory bill. These bills in 2021 simply kicked off with discriminatory provisions, including a corrupt contact preference form that a birthparent may file stating that “I do not want to be contacted. I request that my personally identifiable information be redacted from the noncertified copy of the original certificate of birth and my contact preference form.” The House Judiciary Committee recommended passage and the bill was renumbered and introduced as HF855 by the Ways and Means Committee. It passed the Iowa House on April 13 on a vote of 91-0. The Senate Judiciary Committee recommended SF559 for passage on March 3, and the Ways and Means Committee subsequently approved it for passage. The Senate on April 21 passed the bill, 46-0, after substituting HF855 and adding an amendment regarding the collection of fees. The House agreed to the amendment and, after an extended legislative session, Governor Kim Reynolds signed the bill into law on May 19, 2021. The Facebook group Iowa Adoptee and Family Coalition supported the birthparent redaction rights in the law, as did the Adoptee Rights Coalition. A FAQ on the new law and how it works is available here.
HB450. [ENACTED] Unrestricted bill that, because of Louisiana’s unique inheritance laws, requires the adopted person to be at least 24 years of age to request the original birth record. This is a fairly simple and straightforward unrestricted rights bill, but with one catch: the adopted person must be at least 24 years of age to request the OBC. Why? Louisiana’s unique and complicated “forced heirship” laws generally impact wills/last testaments involving any heir under 24 years of age, even heirs who have been adopted.
The fact that this bill has no other restrictions and that Rhode Island—before a new law last year—was an unrestricted rights state at age 25, we’re qualifying this as an unrestricted bill. It has been referred to the Committee on Civil Law and Procedure, where after an initial hearing where discriminatory amendments were proposed, the bill was heard again on March 21 and reported favorably without any amendments. It passed the full House on March 28 after representatives rejected discriminatory amendments and added a non-discriminatory provision for a birthparent contact preference form. On May 24, the Senate Judiciary A Committee reported the bill favorably, 4-2, and it passed the full Senate on June 3 by a vote of 29-5, with a technical amendment that does not impact unrestricted release of the OBC. The House concurred with that amendment and the bill was delivered to Governor John Bel Edwards. He signed it into law on June 15.
H2294/S1440. [ENACTED] Removes a date-based “donut hole” restriction that denies the OBC to adoptees born between 1974 and 2008. This is the same short and sweet bill (it strikes out 13 words) that has been in play for at least four consecutive sessions. It 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 born between 1974 and 2008. The Joint Committee on Public Health heard the bills on May 10 and reported them out favorably in September. On November 4, the House passed H2294 by voice vote and it now moves to the Senate, where on January 10, 2022 it was read and referred to the Senate Rules Committee. Ultimately it passed the Senate on a 40-0 vote on July 29, 2022, and Governor Charlie Baker signed it on August 5, 2022. It took effect on November 3, 2022. Access Massachusetts and national adoptee rights advocates have been involved for years in supporting the bill.
H7310: Extends current unrestricted equal rights law to descendants of the adopted person. Straightforward bill that extends the right to obtain an adoptee’s original birth certificate to direct line descendants of the adopted person. It was introduced on February 2, 2022, and has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee, where it was considered on February 17 and, as is common practice, “held for further study.” After an amendment in committee on April 27 that did not impact the substance of the bill, the committee reported H7310 favorably. It passed the full House on May 4 and the Senate on June 22. Rhode Island Governor Daniel McKee signed bill into law on June 30. It takes immediate effect.
HB4566/H5000: [ENACTED] Birthparent consent bill that applies retroactively to all adoptions in the state, no matter the date the adoption was finalized. Has been amended to add redaction provisions. Representative RJ May introduced HB4566 in the House to amend Section 44-63-140, which was amended already in 2019 but applied only to adoptions finalized after July 1, 2019. HB4566 now seeks to make the 2019 law applicable to all adoptions no matter when finalized. The bill provides that adult adoptees may obtain a “copy of their original birth certificate and accompanying evidence of adoption with the consent of the biological parent and applies retroactively, regardless of the date on which the adoption was finalized.” H5000 is essentially identical to HB4566 with one difference: the original birth record may be released if “the department or an office of vital records in another jurisdiction certifies that the biological parent is deceased.” Presumably, if two parents are listed on the original birth record, proof of death of both birthparents is required to release the record, though H5000 does not specifically address this issue. The House Judiciary Committee heard H5000 on March 29 after a favorable recommendation from a subcommittee. The full Judiciary Committee, however, tacked on a redaction provision to go along with required birthparent consent or death, and then reported the bill out favorably on a 23-0-1 vote. It passed the full House by unanimous consent and has since been referred to the Senate, where it was assigned to the Committee on Medical Affairs, which reported it out favorably on May 5, 2022. It passed the Senate on May 12 and Governor McMaster signed it into law on May 16. It takes effect on May 16, 2023.
HB2070/SB2056: [ENACTED] Makes all adoption records public 100 years after the adoption. As part of a larger bill that proposes substantive changes to adoption law in Tennessee, this bill also makes all adoption records in the state publicly available 100 years after the adoption (and analysis of the bill is specific to this provision only). The specific text provides that “all adoption records . . . will be a public record and open to inspection when one hundred (100) years have elapsed since the date the adoption was finalized. If an adoption was not finalized, or the date the adoption was finalized is not clearly indicated in the adoption record, then the adoption record will be a public record and open to inspection when one hundred (100) years have elapsed since the creation of the oldest dated item in the adoption record.” Rep. Tom Leatherwood filed the bill in the House on January 27, 2022; Sen. Ferrell Haile is the author in the Senate. The House unanimously passed HB2070 on March 17, and the Senate passed the bill on March 31 on a largely partisan 24-5 vote, with an amendment. After concurrence in the House, the Governor signed the bill into law on April 29, 2022. It goes into effect on July 1, 2022.
HB62/SB723 [ENACTED]: Removes contact veto provisions in current law. Tennessee is not an unrestricted rights state. It has three provisions that are problematic: 1) redaction of records in certain limited cases; 2) a $150 fee to request records; and 3) a highly problematic and likely unconstitutional “contact veto.” The bills, sponsored by the Republican Majority Leader in the Tennessee House, removes the contact veto and contact notice registry provisions. While the bill is hard to review because of way it is drafted, I have compiled how the proposed changes fit into existing law. Last session near-identical bills were set to be heard in each chambers’ Judiciary Committees, but COVID-19 led to deferral of all legislative action. The only difference with the bill this session is a requirement to inform people who registered a contact veto that the law is changing. It was reported out favorably from the House Subcommittee on Children & Family Affairs, the full Civil Justice Committee and the Finance Committee, and now moves to the House floor, where it is on the regular calendar for consideration on March 25. The companion Senate bill, SB0723, was recommended unanimously for passage by the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 23, and subsequently passed the full Senate, 32-0. On March 25, SB723 was substituted for HB62 and passed the full House, 88-0. Governor Bill Lee signed the bill on April 7, and the bulk of the new law now becomes effective on July 1, 2022.
SCR006: Resolution expressing support for the Adoptee Citizenship Act and requesting Congressional and Presidential action to enact it into law. Similar to other state and city resolutions related to intercountry adoption and citizenship, this resolution expresses Utah’s legislative and executive support for passage of the Adoptee Citizenship Act, calling on the “United States Congress and the President of the United States to support the Adoptee Citizenship Act and any other current or future congressional efforts intended to address issues similar to those the Adoptee Citizenship Act seeks to remedy.” It passed the Senate on February 7 and the House on February 16. Governor Spencer Cox signed the measure on February 17.
H.629: [ENACTED] Unrestricted equal rights bill that the House Committee on Judiciary drafted after extensive testimony and work from advocates and supporters. This bill is one of few, if any, bills that start with discriminatory provisions but are amended in committee to remove those provisions and to produce a genuine equal rights bill. H.629, as currently approved by the House Committee on Judiciary, restores the right of adopted people at age 18 to request and obtain their own birth records. It also applies to descendants of adult adopted people. The bill left in place portions of the existing Vermont Adoption Registry and its information-sharing framework, preserving the right of birthparents and adoptees to block release of defined “identifying information,” though the ability to file such a nondisclosure is eliminated on July 1, 2023. Importantly, a refusal to release identifying information through the adoption registry, shall not “interfere with a person’s right to obtain a copy of an original birth certificate.” Birthparents may also file optional contact preference forms with the registry. The final bill is a result of painstaking work and testimony from numerous advocates, primarily four adoptees associated with the Vermont Adoptee Rights Working Group (a core partner of the New England Adoptee Rights Coalition), Marley Greiner, Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy, Annette O’Connell, and former Maine Rep. Bobbi Beavers, among others. The House amended the bill on March 17 and it passed the full House on March 18. After multiple hearings the Senate Judiciary Committee also amended the bill, retaining its unrestricted equal rights provisions, and reported it out favorably on April 1, 2022. It passed the full Senate on April 8 on a 27-0-1 vote, and the House concurred with the Senate amendments on April 14. Governor Phil Scott signed it into law on May 3, and its primary provisions become effective July 1, 2023.
Note: two companion equal rights bills died in committee and are listed and discussed below.
SB524/AB577: Purports to allow adult children of deceased adoptees to request and obtain the adoptee’s original birth certificate, subject to the state’s current restrictive law. This bill will provide a right for “offspring” of a deceased adopted person to request the adoptee’s OBC (plus “any available identifying information” about the adoptee’s birthparents), but only if the adoptee and the adoptee’s identified birthparents are all deceased. The bill also appears structured so that it applies only to children of adoptees who were adopted in Wisconsin—and not necessarily to adoptees who were born in Wisconsin but adopted in another state. The Senate Committee on Transportation and Local Government heard the bill on September 22, 2021, and the bill later passed the Senate unanimously on October 20. The Senate bill passed the full Assembly on February 22, 2022, and SB524 has been signed into law by Governor Tony Evers. It became effective on March 6, 2022.
Bills that have died and are no longer active in the 2022 legislative session.
HB1369/SB1390: Unrestricted equal rights bills that provides a copy of the original birth certificate upon request to the registrant at age 18. Florida has a tortured history of attempts to modify its current restrictive law, with “sacrificial” unrestricted bills typically offered up as a way to carry discriminatory amendments later. The bills are essentially identical to bills introduced in the 2021 session, both of which died in committee without hearings. Like the bills in the prior session, these eliminate a current intermediary process to request court records and repeals a “good cause” provision in Florida adoption law that controls petitioning the court for adoption records. Structurally, it is somewhat odd, as it continues to mix vital records with court records and can be interpreted to provide permissive release of any records, including court and adoption agency records—or it could be interpreted to limit release of “records” only to that of the original birth record. The current bill also applies to anyone who had a prior original birth certificate sealed after a paternity determinations or any other court-ordered parental substitution. The current Senate author is Ana Maria Rodriguez; the House author is Joe Casello. This is a short legislative session that is scheduled to end by March 11, 2022. The bills died in assigned committees without receiving a hearing.
HB2617. While Kansas has always recognized the right of adopted people to obtain copies of their own original birth records, that right has not extended to other family members if the adopted person is deceased. This bill would extend the right to all Kansans and provides that the “state registrar shall permit inspection of the records or issue a certified copy or abstract of a certificate or part thereof concerning a deceased person to an immediate family member. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as preventing persons who have been adopted from requesting and receiving records of such person’s birth family.” While the bill is a bit unclear if descendants of a deceased adoptee may obtain the original birth record of the adoptee, it would likely be interpreted to allow such a request. The bill received a hearing in the House Committee on Health and Human Services, but it did not otherwise advance in the session.
HB727: Divides adoptees into two unequal classes based on the date of adoption, largely maintaining a current Court-driven search program that preserves a birthparent “right of refusal” to release information. This is generally a prospective bill that benefits adoptees whose adoptions are finalized on or after July 1, 2022. These “lucky” adoptees—most of whom are not even born and will not be adults until the late 2030s or early 2040s— may at age 18 request and obtain their own original birth certificates by application to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. For all other adoptees—i.e., those whose adoptions are finalized prior to July 1, 2022—the bill retains the state’s Court-driven “search and consent” program, with a requirement that birthparents be contacted to determine if they consent or refuse to consent to release information. The cost of that search must be borne by the adoptee and may be up to $250.00. The bill modifies current law slightly by allowing release of “adoption records” and the adoptee’s original birth certificate if either a consent or “no written statement of consent or refusal” is on file. Prospective bills like this one, which largely preserve and reinforce existing discrimination, are an outdated approach but are now peddled by the Adoptee Rights Coalition, an organization that supports such bills, if not assists in drafting them. The bill was introduced on the last day to introduce House bills in the Kentucky legislature and has been assigned to the Committee on Committees. It must be heard in committee before March 25 to remain active.
HB613: Proposal to allow birthparents to be listed on an adoptees’s original birth record if the birthparent(s) are deceased. I’m not fully understanding the purpose and scope of this bill, which states that, if a birthparent related to an adoption is deceased, “the [amended] birth certificate shall contain both the name of the deceased biological parent or parents and the name of the adopted parent or parents, if requested by the court, the adoptive parent or parents, or the adopted child.” Presumably it applies at the time of ordering a new post-adoption birth certificate, though whether it could also apply to adult adopted people later is up for question. It was introduced on February 28, 2022, and is now in the Committee on Committees. It must be heard in committee before March 25 to remain active.
Of note: SB8, which deals with various child welfare issues, includes a provision repealing Kentucky’s racist and eugenics-based adoption annulment statute. That law currently allows adoptive parents to annul an adoption if the child later “reveals definite traits of ethnological ancestry different from those of the adoptive parents.” SB8 has passed both chambers and has been delivered to Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear for signature and final enactment.
SF328/HF470: Unrestricted equal rights bills that dismantle Minnesota’s forty-plus-year history of compromise. SF328/HF470 are equal rights bills that, with minor tweaks, are identical to bills filed in the 2019-2020 legislative sessions. Sen. Jim Carlson, a DFL (Democratic) legislator, is the author of the Senate bill. Republican Rep. Dave Baker is the House author. The bills constitute a necessary step toward dismantling a complex intermediary system that has existed in Minnesota since 1977. After a hearing last session in the Senate’s Civil Law and Data Practices Policy Committee, Senator Carlson withdrew SF328 in part to avoid discriminatory amendments and to keep the bill active. The bills have carried over to 2022 and the House bill may receive a hearing February. Minnesota Coalition for Adoption Reform is the primary organization behind the effort, in collaboration with Minnesota-based Adoptee Rights Law Center. It is possible the House bill will be scheduled for a hearing this session in the Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Committee, though time is slowly running out.
HF4332: Resolution expressing support for the Adoptee Citizenship Act and requesting Congressional and Presidential action to enact it into law. Similar to other state and city resolutions related to intercountry adoption and citizenship, this resolution expresses Minnesota’s legislative and executive support for passage of the Adoptee Citizenship Act and “urges the President and the Congress of the United States to enact legislation securing the citizenship of internationally adopted adult individuals.” It is stuck in the House Rules and Legislative Administration Committee, with the legislature scheduled to adjourn by May 23.
SB2332: Straightforward and simple unrestricted equal rights bill that releases the OBC to an adopted person who is at least 21 years of age. Mississippi has struggled in the last few sessions to get a bill drafted that makes complete sense. This one, however, appears to get it right. SB2332, authored by Senator Angela Burks Hill, provides that a “person who has been adopted is entitled to a certified copy of the person’s original birth certificate if the person is at least twenty-one (21) years old. The copy of the person’s original birth certificate shall be clearly marked ‘cancelled and revised.'” (Note: the age of majority in Mississippi is generally considered to be 21 years of age). The bill has been referred to the Judiciary A Committee, where a similar bill was reported out favorably in 2021 and unanimously passed by the Senate. It later died in the House after a complicated procedural move stripped the text of the bill and substituted completely different language.
HB1018: Discriminatory bill that requires birthparent notice and consent before releasing any identifying information, including an original birth certificate. Representative Lee Yancey has introduced adoptee-related bills in the past, but this one starts off in the wrong direction and will unfortunately compete with the unrestricted SB2332 (see above). Rep. Yancey’s bill imposes a birthparent notice and consent requirement for the release of any identifying information, including the original birth record. The key provision in the HB1018 states that “the bureau [of vital statistics] shall contact the birth parent . . . to notify him or her of the request. Upon agreement from a birth parent, the bureau shall provide the requested information regarding only the parent who agreed to the release of identifying information.” While the bill is silent on redaction, the wording of the bill suggests that any information about a nonconsenting parent will be redacted. The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary A Committee.
HB168/SB2350: Vital records bill that allows the registrar to issue a certificate of foreign birth to an intercountry adoptee child who has acquired automatic U.S. citizenship. This is a somewhat wonky bill that will allow adoptive parents to bypass registering a foreign adoption in a Mississippi court and instead allow them to apply directly for a certificate of foreign birth. It applies only if the parents have completed a full and final adoption in the country of origin and the child possesses a U.S. Certificate of Citizenship. It also requires providing a certified copy of the foreign birth certificate as well as the original documents related to the foreign adoption, among other documents. The House bill died on February 1, 2022, in the Judiciary A Committee, but the Senate bill passed the full Senate and crossed over to the House, where it ultimately died in the Public Health and Human Services Committee.
HB3330 Vital records bill related to the issuance of an Oklahoma certificate of foreign birth for intercountry adoptees. While I understand the general purpose of this bill, which allows for the issuance of a state-issued birth certificate for an intercountry adoptee adopted by U.S. citizen parents in Oklahoma, the impact is questionable. Current Oklahoma law—similar to many other state laws—allows for issuance of a “certificate of foreign birth” for an intercountry adoptee who is adopted by Oklahoma residents. Most certificates recite on the face of the document “Not Considered Proof of U.S. Citizenship.” This bill, which applies only when the child’s U.S. “citizenship status is not in question,” allows issuance of a birth record “without language which may place the child’s citizenship status into question.” Presumably, this means that the phrase “Not Considered Proof of U.S. Citizenship” will be removed from such certificates. Nevertheless, such a record would still not be proof of U.S. citizenship under current federal law. The Judiciary Committee heard the bill on February 16 and recommended “do pass,” and it was passed as amended by the full House on March 21. It nevertheless failed to move out of the Senate Judiciary Committee after a 4-4 tie vote.
S.275: Bill that seeks to consolidate all adoption records in the state and to provide “access” to records, with provisions for redactions and the weighing of “privacy interests” of birthparents before release of information. This is a bill with potentially massive but overall negative impacts on adult adopted people. First, it seeks to study the feasibility of consolidating “all adoption records in the possession of any agency” (including court records and likely birth records) into a “centralized repository.” To do so, it requires a feasibility report, due December 1, 2022, from the Department of Children and Families on the size of such a repository and the cost to create and administer it. In addition, the bill makes changes to how nonidentifying and identifying information may be released and when confidential information can be redacted. Ultimately, redaction of any identifying information in certain records is required where no “waiver of confidentiality” has been previously filed. Identifying information may be released to an adult adoptee (or the adoptee’s descendant) only if “the person’s specific interest in the identifying information outweighs the privacy interest of the former parent.” A number of factors go into determining such a determination, including whether any disclosure vetoes (called a “request for nondisclosure”) have been filed in the past; whether the birthparent is deceased; the amount of time since relinquishment; the need for the information; and the availability of “less intrusive means” for “addressing the need presented by the person requesting the records.” If a birthparent is determined to be deceased, however, identifying information is released two years after the birthparents death. Ultimately, this is a rehash of long-existing “good cause” bills—going back decades—that require courts to weigh release of information. In this case, however, the decision to release information is apparently ceded to an official within the “registry,” a division overseen by the state’s Department of Children and Families. This bill needs a great more attention to hash out its full impact (and it could provide a framework to address adoption agency records), but at this time it deserves an uncoveted sh*tstorm rating, which we’ve given it. It was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee but did not meet hearing and crossover deadlines and died in committee. Note: a provision in S275 concerning the study of consolidating adoption records statewide made it into H.629, which is discussed above.
HB2943: Bill that requires an adoptee to use the state’s mutual consent registry, and undergo counseling, before being able to request the original birth record at age 21. This bill requires an adult adopted person, aged 18 or over, to request and to be “unsuccessful in obtaining identifying information” from the state’s mutual consent registry before being able to apply for an original birth record (at age 21). While the bill appears to require the state registrar to issue the OBC to the adoptee under those limited circumstances, a separate provision in current law creates significant doubt whether that could occur without a birthparent’s consent. In addition, use of West Virginia’s mutual consent registry require the adopted person to complete “one hour of counseling with a social worker or social service worker employed by the Department’s registry.” As introduced it is a confusing bill and does not restore to West Virginia adoptees their unrestricted right to request and obtain their own OBCs. The bill died in the Judiciary Committee.
SB55: Bill that creates birthparent redaction rights and requires high school graduation or equivalency for an adoptee to request the OBC. This bill appears nearly identical to a bill that was enacted into law in Pennsylvania in 2018. It applies to adult adoptees and lineal descendants of the adoptee, though to request birth records an adoptee must be at least 18 years of age and “graduated from high school, completed a Test Assessing Secondary Completion program or has legally withdrawn from secondary schooling.” (see current Pennsylvania law). While birthparents may complete a contact preference form that does not affect the release of the OBC, the bill nevertheless creates a separate “name redaction request form” that will allow a birthparent to “request that the birth parent’s name be redacted from a noncertified copy of original birth record issued to an adoptee.” Senator Bill Hamilton introduced the bill on January 12, 2022, and it has been referred to the Committee on Health and Human Resources, where it died without receiving a hearing.
SB483/AB502. As introduced in 2021, provides an unrestricted right, at age 18, for an adoptee to request and obtain the “impounded” pre-adoption birth certificate. Wisconsin and its legislators have a mixed history on the issue of original birth records, agreeing in the past to compromised legislation that would reinforce the state’s current system of consent-based release of the OBC. This bill, as introduced, would provide a simple and unrestricted right to request and obtain the original “impounded” birth certificate at age 18. It further divorces current law from Wisconsin’s complex intermediary system that depends on searching for birthparents to obtain consent for release of the OBC. Hearings on the Senate bill before the Senate Committee on Human Services, Children and Families have been scheduled twice but subsequently cancelled, though it is now before the Committee for consideration after a public hearing on January 5, 2022. A vote on the bill in committee was expected on January 19 but was abruptly cancelled after new opposition to the bill arose. Meanwhile, the House bill was heard on January 26, 2022. As of February 22, both bills are all but dead, with only a few floor periods left to consider any bills that have already made it out of committee.