It’s been 107 days and counting since New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s veto of A5036B and nearly two months since the New York State Department of Health (DOH) adoptee rights workgroup meeting in Albany.
Here is what we are doing:
- Contributing to the Department of Health: Additional information has been furnished to the DOH as we await its report to the Governor and the legislature with their recommendations on adoptee access to birth records. The DOH report is due by April 30, 2018.
- Amending S5169B: As planned before the DOH workgroup meeting, we have worked with Senator Tony Avella to complete clarifying and substantive amendments to that bill. These include addressing the differences between state and local health commissioners who, under specific varying circumstances, would be responsible for producing a certified copy of an adult adoptee’s original long-form birth certificate.
- Discussing A9959/S7631: As planned following the DOH workgroup meeting, we are in discussions with Assemblymember David Weprin and his senior staff, who participated in the workgroup. We are working toward an agreement to move the best bill forward, including addressing issues that may impede the passage of an unrestricted OBC access bill. Those discussions continue, and NYARC representatives will be in Albany in early May to lobby legislators and to meet with Assemblymembers Weprin and Carroll to determine how best to get a clean bill enacted this session, which ends June 20, 2018.
- Promoting Clean Reform: NYARC and other adoptee rights advocates have been interviewed for a story on NY1, which could air any day. We continue to work to persuade the media to cover this issue and to maintain the momentum bolstered by Governor Cuomo’s earlier veto.
In all of our work in the last three months, one thing has become clear: we must keep Governor Andrew Cuomo and his office centrally engaged on this issue. We must continue to work to convince him and the legislature that clean and unrestricted OBC access remains the best solution in New York and the country.
This is where you—adoptees, adoptee rights advocates, supporters, and our allies—will be needed. In the coming weeks we will be asking you to contact Governor Cuomo to ask that he and his office continue to support the enactment of clean legislation. We will also be asking you to contact your legislators to request that they support an adoptee’s unrestricted right to the original birth certificate.
Be ready to help. We will be in touch again very soon.