First of all, THANK YOU! All of you. Whether you licked one stamp, sent a single email, or came with us to Albany to lobby legislators over the course of the last two years, it all made a difference.
But in the wild aftermath of a crazy week that ended in passage of equal rights legislation known as the Weprin/Montgomery Bill, we’ve been inundated with thanks, funds to help with expenses, and a ton of questions and comments along the lines of “when do I get my OBC.”
So, what’s next, besides other states following New York’s lead and doing the same thing? Here are the most likely next steps (and if you have questions about the bill itself, Adoptee Rights Law Center has an updated question and answer post here).
ONE The Senate will transmit the bill to Governor Cuomo for consideration. When this happens is not yet known, as the legislature often packages numerous bills together and sends them to the governor’s office for consideration. It could take several months to transmit. For example, the 2017 vetoed bill that the Senate passed on June 21, 2017, was not transmitted to Governor Cuomo until December 19, 2017, nearly six months after passage. He vetoed that bill ten days later.
TWO Governor Cuomo has a lot of time to consider the bill for signature or veto, depending on when he receives it. We do not have reason to believe he will veto it, but it is always his option. The timeframe for signing the bill can be as late as December 31, 2019. Because the bill, if enacted into law, must be implemented by January 15, 2020, we doubt it will be delayed significantly for signature. As soon as we get more information we will update everyone.
THREE If Governor Cuomo signs the bill, it is enacted into law, and certain provisions become immediately effective. This includes a provision that requires “the commissioner of health . . . to promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this act.” We will be monitoring the development of any regulations by the state department of health.
FOUR As the effective date approaches, we should learn how the department of health plans to implement the law, including what the application will look like, what identification may be required for application, and whether the department will use an online, mail, or in-person application process, or a combination of them. We expect, as in other states, it will be a mail-in form paper form that could also be delivered in person.
FIVE Assuming all the steps above have occurred—most importantly Governor Cuomos’s signature on the bill—the New York State Department of Health or the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will begin to process applications starting January 15, 2020. It is not yet known if the registrars will accept pre-filed applications prior to the effective date of January 15, 2020.
SIX You get your own certified original long form line by line, vault copy birth certificate sometime after January 15, 2020 (or if you are a direct line descendant, a certified copy of your ancestor’s OBC). It will likely arrive by mail, but we cannot predict how long it will take to receive it once you apply. There is a possibility of significant delays as the process rolls out and thousands of New York adoptees apply for their records after the application process opens.
SEVEN Party like it’s 1935.