Write Now Too: Urge Ohio Legislators To Keep Adoptee Access Provisions In HB 7

Please join in writing to Ohio legislators asking them to keep adoptee records access provisions in Ohio HB 7.


Subject: Legislative Alert 4-17-2008
Date: Thu, 17 Apr 2008 13:02:06 -0700 (PDT)
From: Betsie Norris

Legislative Alert

Letters and Calls Needed — Please feel free to forward!

Thank you for being interested in Ohio House Bill 7.

As you know, House Bill 7 was introduced last January and is aimed at reforming the adoption and foster care laws of Ohio. The goal of my contacting you is to urge you to write or call your state representative and the members of the House Health Committee and ask them to support keeping access to records provisions in the bill.

Unfortunately, this critical piece of the bill is being removed. This piece would allow persons adopted between 1964 and 1996 to have access to their original birth certificate. We have put forward a compromise position which would mimic laws in place in Oregon, Alabama and other states. This model would allow birthparents to file a contact preference form with the birth certificate so that if the certificate is requested, the birthparent can state their desire (or lack thereof) to be contacted.

Below, please find a sample letter for your use. Feel free to change it, personalize it, and make it your own. If you make calls, you can use it as talking points.� If you have any questions about the letter or how to contact your state representative, please let me know and we will be happy to assist you. The list of House Health Committee members
follows the letter.� The most important members to contact, by phone if possible even if you talk to their aides, are Representatives Matt Huffman (R-Lima) and Robert Mecklenborg (R-Cincinnati) and Speaker of the House Jon Husted.� Thank you for your continued support of Adoption Network Cleveland.

Sincerely,

Betsie Norris
Executive Director
betsie.norris@adoptionnetwork.org

SAMPLE LETTER

April 16, 2008

Representative XXXX
77 S. High St., XX Floor
Columbus, OH 43215

Dear Representative XXXX:

I am writing today to urge you to support House Bill 7 sponsored by Representative Tom Brinkman.� As introduced, HB 7 will make dramatic improvements to Ohio’s adoption and foster care system.

Specifically, I urge you to support the portions of HB 7 that deal with “access to birth records.”� As you know, current law denies persons who were adopted in Ohio between 1964 and 1996 the right to obtain a copy of their original birth certificate.� HB 7 will eliminate this injustice and give all adoptees the same access to their birth records as every
other Ohioan.

A compromise position has been put forth, and I would encourage you to incorporate this as a means of addressing concerns raised by groups that oppose the access to records piece of the bill.� The “Contact Preference System” which has been put forward as a compromise is being used in several states that face the same dilemma as Ohio.� It allows the
adoptee access to their record, while providing the birthparent the ability to state their preference for if and how they wish to be contacted as a result of the birth certificate being released.� In short, it balances the interests of both the adoptee and the birthparent.

While the access to records piece of the bill transcends search and reunion (this can easily be accomplished without a birth certificate), the Contact Preference System ensures that rights on both sides of the equation are taken into consideration and protected.

Gaining access to one’s birth certificate can mean accessing life saving medical information, providing finality to an unclosed part of one’s life, answering lingering questions about one’s identity, and yes, searching for one’s birthparents.� In any of these cases, Ohio law should recognize the basic right each Ohioan has to possess one of the most fundamental documents in their life, their birth record.

Please support the Contact Preference System compromise as a means of allowing HB 7 to move forward.

Sincerely,

Ohio House Of Representatives – Health Committee
http://www.house.state.oh.us/jsps/Committee.jsp?ID=15

Members most important to contact have an astrix (*)

*Speaker Jon Husted
77 S. High St.
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 466-5316
Fax: (614) 719-3591
Email Address: district37@odr.state.oh.us

Chair:
*Lynn Wachtmann (R)
District 75
77 S. High St
11th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 466-3760
Fax : (614) 719-3975
Email Address: district75@ohr.state.oh.us

Ranking Minority Member:
Brian G. Williams (D)
District 41
77 S. High St
10th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 644-5085
Fax : (614) 719-6941
Email Address: district41@ohr.state.oh.us

Members:
Barbara Boyd (D)
District 09
77 S. High St
10th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 644-5079
Fax : (614) 719-0009
Email Address: district09@ohr.state.oh.us

Edna Brown (D)
District 48
77 S. High St
10th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 466-1401
Fax : (614) 719-6948
Email Address: district48@ohr.state.oh.us

Michael DeBose (D)
District 12
77 S. High St
10th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 466-1408
Fax : (614) 719-3912
Email Address: district12@ohr.state.oh.us

Lorraine M. Fende (D)
District 62
77 S. High St
11th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 466-7251
Fax : (614) 719-3962
Email Address: district62@ohr.state.oh.us

Bruce W. Goodwin (R)
District 74
77 S. High St
13th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 644-5091
Fax : (614) 719-3974
Email Address: district74@ohr.state.oh.us

Jay Hottinger (R)
District 71
77 S. High St
13th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 466-1482
Fax : (614) 719-3971
Email Address: district71@ohr.state.oh.us

Matt Huffman (R)
District 04
77 S. High St
11th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 466-9624
Fax : (614) 719-0004
Email Address: district04@ohr.state.oh.us

Shannon Jones (R)
District 67
Assistant Majority Whip
77 S. High St
11th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 644-6027
Fax : (614) 719-3967
Email Address: district67@ohr.state.oh.us

Tom Letson (D)
District 64
77 S. High St
11th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 466-5358
Fax : (614) 719-3964
Email Address: district64@ohr.state.oh.us

*Robert Mecklenborg (R)
District 30
77 S. High St
14th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 466-8258, or in district
Fax : (614) 719-3584
Email Address: district30@ohr.state.oh.us

Robert J. Otterman (D)
District 45
77 S. High St
10th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 644-6037
Fax : (614) 719-6945
Email Address: district45@ohr.state.oh.us

W. Scott Oelslager (R)
District 51
77 S. High St
13th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 752-2438
Fax : (614) 719-6951
Email Address: district51@ohr.state.oh.us

Robert F. Hagan (D)
District 60
77 S. High St
11th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 466-9435
Fax : (614) 719-3960
Email Address: district60@ohr.state.oh.us

James T. Raussen (R)
District 28
77 S. High St
13th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 466-8120
Fax : (614) 719-3582
Email Address: district28@ohr.state.oh.us

Chris Redfern (D)
District 80
77 S. High St
10th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 644-6011
Fax : (614) 719-6980
Email Address: district80@ohr.state.oh.us

Carol-Ann Schindel (R)
District 63
77 S. High St
11th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 644-6074
Fax : (614) 719-3963
Email Address: district63@ohr.state.oh.us

Fred Strahorn (D)
District 40
Assistant Minority Whip
77 S. High St
14th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 466-2960
Fax : (614) 719-6940
Email Address: district40@ohr.state.oh.us

Joseph W. Uecker (R)
District 66
77 S. High St
11th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 466-8134
Fax : (614) 719-3966
Email Address: district66@ohr.state.oh.us

Shawn N. Webster (R)
District 53
77 S. High St
13th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 644-5094
Fax : (614) 719-6953
Email Address: district53@ohr.state.oh.us

Kenny Yuko (D)
District 07
77 S. High St
11th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215-6111
Telephone: (614) 466-8012
Fax : (614) 719-0007
Email Address: district07@ohr.state.oh.us

Our postal address is
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Suite 550
Cleveland, Ohio 44103
United States