State Representative Dorothy Pelanda (R-Marysville) has announced that the Ohio House of Representatives today passed Senate Bill 23, legislation to address disparities in Ohio’s adoption laws.

The legislation permits adult adoptees who were adopted between the years of 1964 and 1996 to access their original birth certificates once they reach the age of 18. Adoptees who were born before 1964 and after 1996 have nearly unfettered access to their original birth records, while it is nearly impossible for adults adopted between these years to obtain the same documents.

“I applaud the passage of this important legislation and hope that it will give Ohio adoptees better access to essential information,” said Rep. Pelanda, who sponsored the companion legislation—House Bill 61—that passed from the House in April. “It will bring much-needed consistency to Ohio’s adoption laws and will allow all adopted individuals the ability to access their birth records, regardless of the year they were born.”

Senate Bill 23 delays the effective date of the bill for one year after it is signed into law, to give birthparents a chance to voluntarily file a “contact preference form” alongside the birth certificate to make known how or if they would like to be contacted.

Throughout the past 15 years, many states have changed their laws to permit adult adoptees to access their pre-adoption birth certificates. Ohio’s inequitable three-tiered system of access has made it very difficult for many adoptees to access this personal document, an issue that Senate Bill 23 and House Bill 61 both addressed.

Senate Bill 23 passed by a vote of 88-2.

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