Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Legislative Alerts Concerning Adoptee Rights, Adoption and Open Records: New Jersey, California

The following legislative alerts were issued recently by CalOpen and Bastard Nation concerning pending legislation in state courts.


Heads Up! Issued by Cal Open/ JeanUhrich

Assembly Bill 73, authored by Asm. Mike Feurer, Judiciary Chair, has been

Bill Text:

Synopsis: This bill would express the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to provide that juvenile court hearings in juvenile dependency cases shall be presumptively open to the public, unless the court finds that admitting the public would not be in a child's best interest. The bill would also include a statement of legislative findings and declarations. Public access to juvenile court hearings has the benefit of ensuring that the child welfare system can be held more accountable, and of educating the public about the needs of the child welfare system.
Bill Status: Active
Next Hearing: May be heard in committee January 21.

I know last year was difficult for so many of us. Watching AB 372 go through so many defective amendments, and then dying for lack of funding.

This year, while AB 73 does not address open records to adult adoptees, it does send California courts into an open mode on juvenile proceedings. This is so fantastic!

This post serves as a heads up! During this very week, I will begin to make contact with Asm. Feurer's Capitol Office, to learn who sponsors the bill, and what we can do to support more openness.

As many of you will remember, Cal Open met with Chair Mike Feurer on AB 372. While we were not successful in swaying that bill in 2010 to match Oregon and Alabama, it is my hope that our conversations and submissions had an impact on his view of needed change to California's child welfare and court systems. However this came about, here comes AB 73. This is a HUGE step in the right direction! 10 years ago, Cal Open partnered with some very large associations, when dealing with the threat of closure of the California Birth Index. I intend to make contact with several of those organizations, including the California Newspapers Association, to get some assistance on supporting this bill.

Within the next 46 days, until February 18th, more bills will be introduced. Cal Open will keep track of pertinent introductions, and notify members here of legislation that may affect adoptee rights and adoption in general. Unlike last year, we should be able to give adequate notice to members for e-mails, phone calls and letters to support the bill.

Jean Uhrich, CalOpen


New Jersey:

Distribute Freely




Read full text of A1406 here.
Read full text of S799 here

A1406 (companion to S799 already passed in the NJ Senate) is scheduled for a floor vote sometime in the next few weeks. Proponents of this bad bill hoped to have it on the schedule for a January 6, 2011 vote, but it's not on the list.

Please contact Assembly members immediately and urge them to VOTE NO ON A1406/S799. (Contact information below.) If you are from or in New Jersey or have a New Jersey connection, mention it in your communication.

Be sure to put: "Vote No On Adoptee Birthright Bill "in the header

Bastard Nation's letter to the Assembly is here.

A1406/S799 is: restrictive, discriminatory, creates a new, special and temporary "right" for "birthparents," and exempts the state's adopted adults from equal protection and treatment regarding the release of the government-generated public record of their births.


*includes a 12- month open enrollment period, starting after the Department of Health releases regs for A1406/S799 implementation, that allows "birthparents," to file disclosure vetoes (DV) before obcs, past and future, are unsealed

*authorizes the state to replace the original birth certificat, of those subjected to the DV with a mutilated copy of the obc with all identifying information, including the address of the parent(s) at the time of birth (if it appears on the cert) deleted.

*requires "birthparents" who file a disclosure veto to submit a family history and a possibly illegal intrusive medical form to activate the veto.

*requires "birthparents" who file a "contact preference form," which, in fact, acts as a disclosure veto, to fill out the same family history and possibly illegal intrusive medical history form to activiate the veto.

*seals by default all "safe haven" birth certificates, even though most "safe haven" babies are born in hospitals to identified mothers.

*requires adoption agencies and adoption lawyers to receive a written veto status report from the state before they can release identifying information to adoptees

*requires the state to mount an "information" campaign to inform "birthparents" of their "protection" options


Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization opposes legislation that denies any adult adoptee access to his or her own original birth records on par with all other citizens. Please let the Assembly know that this issue is not about relationships between adoptees and their "birthparents." It is about basic human and civil rights.
Passage of bad legislation is New Jersey could easily undermine efforts of dedicated reformers who are holding the line for adoptee rights in other states.

New Jersey's A1406/S799 is an abomination in light of the restoration of the right of original birth certificate access to all persons adopted in Oregon, Alabama, and New Hampshire, and Maine. Adult adoptees and all who support adoptee rights should stand united for unrestricted access laws and not sell out just to get a bill passed! Disclosure veto legislation is unethical and unjust!

Please e-mail the New Jersey Assembly today and urge members to VOTE NO ON A1406/S799.

(write one letter, cut and past for all),,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, ,,,,,,

Drop a line to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie now and ask him to veto A1406/S799 if it hits his desk. Letters should be no more than 250 words. Use this template :

or contact him at:

Office of the Governor
PO Box 001
Trenton, NJ 08625

Bastard Nation's letter to Governor Christie is here.

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

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