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A02901 Summary:

BILL NOA02901C
 
SAME ASSAME AS S05964-B
 
SPONSORWeprin
 
COSPNSRMosley, Otis, Benedetto, Hooper, Titus, Sepulveda, Ortiz, Mayer, Aubry, Pichardo, Cusick, Brindisi, Murray, Thiele, Brabenec, DiPietro, Titone, Galef, Raia, Stirpe, Colton, Dilan, Wozniak, Lavine, Linares, Kearns, Steck, Lopez, Walker, Richardson, Kim, Hikind, Cahill, Jean-Pierre, Hevesi, Bichotte, Joyner, Santabarbara, DenDekker, Blake, Hunter
 
MLTSPNSRArroyo, Barrett, Buchwald, Butler, Ceretto, Cook, Curran, Davila, Dinowitz, Duprey, Englebright, Fahy, Farrell, Giglio, Gjonaj, Gottfried, Graf, Hawley, Johns, Katz, Kolb, Lalor, Lifton, Lupardo, Lupinacci, Magee, Malliotakis, McDonald, McDonough, McKevitt, Miller, Moya, Oaks, Palmesano, Palumbo, Paulin, Peoples-Stokes, Perry, Pretlow, Ra, Ramos, Rivera, Robinson, Rodriguez, Rosenthal, Ryan, Schimel, Simanowitz, Skartados, Solages, Stec, Walter, Wright, Zebrowski
 
Amd 114, Dom Rel L; amd 4138-c, Pub Health L
 
Relates to adoptee rights; clarifies language and procedures for obtaining birth certificates and medical histories of adoptees; permits an adopted adult to access certain records when they reach the age of 18; creates a contact preference to be filed by birth parents.
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A02901 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                         2901--C
                                                                Cal. No. 131
 
                               2015-2016 Regular Sessions
 
                   IN ASSEMBLY
 
                                    January 20, 2015
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced  by  M. of A. WEPRIN, MOSLEY, OTIS, BENEDETTO, HOOPER, TITUS,
          GOLDFEDER, SEPULVEDA, ORTIZ, MAYER, AUBRY, PICHARDO, CUSICK, BRINDISI,
          SKOUFIS, MURRAY, THIELE,  BRABENEC,  DiPIETRO,  TITONE,  GALEF,  RAIA,
          STIRPE, COLTON, DILAN, WOZNIAK, LAVINE, LINARES, KEARNS, STECK, LOPEZ,
          WALKER,   RICHARDSON,   KIM,   HIKIND,  CAHILL,  JEAN-PIERRE,  HEVESI,
          BICHOTTE, JOYNER, SANTABARBARA, DenDEKKER,  BLAKE,  HUNTER  --  Multi-
          Sponsored  by -- M. of A.  ARROYO, BARRETT, BUCHWALD, BUTLER, CERETTO,
          COOK, CURRAN, DAVILA, DINOWITZ, DUPREY,  ENGLEBRIGHT,  FAHY,  FARRELL,
          GIGLIO,  GJONAJ,  GOTTFRIED,  GRAF,  HAWLEY, JOHNS, KATZ, KOLB, LALOR,
          LIFTON, LUPARDO, LUPINACCI, MAGEE, MALLIOTAKIS,  McDONALD,  McDONOUGH,
          McKEVITT,  MILLER,  MONTESANO, MOYA, OAKS, PALMESANO, PALUMBO, PAULIN,
          PEOPLES-STOKES, PERRY, PRETLOW, RA, RAMOS,  RIVERA,  ROBINSON,  RODRI-
          GUEZ,  ROSENTHAL, RYAN, SCHIMEL, SIMANOWITZ, SKARTADOS, SOLAGES, STEC,
          WALTER, WRIGHT, ZEBROWSKI -- read once and referred to  the  Committee
          on  Health  --  reported  and  referred  to  the Committee on Codes --
          committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as  amended  and
          recommitted  to said committee -- advanced to a third reading, amended
          and ordered reprinted, retaining its place on the order of third read-
          ing -- again amended on third reading,  ordered  reprinted,  retaining
          its place on the order of third reading
 
        AN ACT to amend the domestic relations law and the public health law, in
          relation to adoptee rights
 
          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
 
     1    Section 1. Legislative findings. The  legislature  hereby  states  its
     2  intention to acknowledge, support and encourage the life-long health and
     3  well-being  of persons who have been and will be adopted in the state of
     4  New York. The legislature  further  recognizes  that  the  inability  to
     5  access  accurate  and  complete medical and self-identifying data of any
     6  adopted person may result  in  such  person  succumbing  to  preventable
     7  disease,  premature  death  or  otherwise  unhealthy  life. As such, the
 
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD07428-09-6

        A. 2901--C                          2
 
     1  provisions of this act seek to establish considerations  under  the  law
     2  for  adopted  persons  to access their birth information while providing
     3  for the privacy of an adopted person and his or her birth  and  adoptive
     4  families.
     5    §  2.  Subdivision  2 of section 114 of the domestic relations law, as
     6  amended by chapter 559 of the laws of 1992 and as designated by  chapter
     7  601 of the laws of 1994, is amended to read as follows:
     8    2.  No  person,  including the attorney for the adoptive parents shall
     9  disclose the surname of the child directly or indirectly to the adoptive
    10  parents except upon order of the  court.  No  person  shall  be  allowed
    11  access  to  such  sealed  records and order and any index thereof except
    12  upon an order of a judge or surrogate of the court in  which  the  order
    13  was  made or of a justice of the supreme court.  [No] Except as provided
    14  in subdivisions four and five of this section, no order  for  disclosure
    15  or access and inspection shall be granted except on good cause shown and
    16  on  due notice to the adoptive parents and to such additional persons as
    17  the court may direct.  Nothing  contained  herein  shall  be  deemed  to
    18  require  the  state  commissioner  of  health  or his or her designee to
    19  secure a court order authorizing disclosure of information contained  in
    20  adoption or birth records requested pursuant to the authority of section
    21  forty-one  hundred  thirty-eight-c  or section forty-one hundred thirty-
    22  eight-d of the public health law; upon the receipt of such  request  for
    23  information,  the  court shall transmit the information authorized to be
    24  released thereunder to the state commissioner of health or  his  or  her
    25  designee.
    26    §  3. Section 114 of the domestic relations law is amended by adding a
    27  new subdivision 5 to read as follows:
    28    5. Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of law: (a)  an  adopted
    29  person who has attained the age of eighteen years may apply to the court
    30  in  which  the  order  of adoption was made, or to the supreme court, to
    31  request an order releasing a certified copy of his or her original  long
    32  form  birth certificate, or where no birth certificate is available, the
    33  identifying information of his  or  her  birth  parent  or  parents,  in
    34  accordance  with this subdivision. Such application shall include suffi-
    35  cient proof of identity of such adopted person.
    36    (b) Upon receipt of an application pursuant to paragraph (a)  of  this
    37  subdivision,  the court shall provide the department of health, or order
    38  that such department be provided, with the  identifying  information  of
    39  the  adopted  person's birth parent or parents and direct the department
    40  of health to make a reasonable and  good  faith  effort,  documented  in
    41  writing  and  completed  within  one  hundred twenty days, to notify the
    42  birth parent or parents and advise  such  parent  or  parents  that  the
    43  adopted  person  has  made  an application pursuant to this subdivision.
    44  Such notification and advisory given shall comply  with  any  terms  and
    45  conditions set forth by the court and shall be made by means designed to
    46  be  sensitive  to  the personal nature of the matter.  Such notification
    47  shall also include an advisory to  such  parent  or  parents  about  the
    48  adoption  medical  information registry established by section forty-one
    49  hundred thirty-eight-c of the public health law and  the  procedures  by
    50  which  a  birth  parent may provide medical information to the registry.
    51  The department of health shall, before  making  efforts  to  notify  the
    52  birth  parent  or parents, determine whether such parent or parents have
    53  already filed a written confirmation with the court or the department of
    54  health pursuant to paragraph (h) of this subdivision or a  birth  parent
    55  registration  consent form with the adoption information registry pursu-
    56  ant to subdivision ten of section forty-one  hundred  thirty-eight-c  of

        A. 2901--C                          3
 
     1  the  public  health  law.  Where such confirmation or consent form is on
     2  file, the department of health  shall  notify  the  court  and  no  such
     3  efforts to notify the parent shall be made.
     4    (c)  Upon  notification pursuant to paragraph (b) of this subdivision,
     5  or earlier at the discretion of the birth parent pursuant  to  paragraph
     6  (h)  of  this  subdivision, such birth parent may complete a written and
     7  notarized confirmation that he or she wishes to maintain confidentiality
     8  of identifying information, or that he or she consents to the release of
     9  identifying information.
    10    (d) Upon receipt of such written confirmation, or where the parent has
    11  completed a birth parent registration consent form pursuant to  subdivi-
    12  sion  ten  of  section  forty-one  hundred  thirty-eight-c of the public
    13  health law, the department of health shall notify the court and  provide
    14  the court with the written confirmation or consent form, as the case may
    15  be,  completed  by  the  birth  parent. Where such consent form has been
    16  revoked by a birth parent, the department of health shall so notify  the
    17  court  and such revocation shall be considered by the court as a request
    18  for continued confidentiality of identifying information.
    19    (i) If the birth parent consents to the release of identifying  infor-
    20  mation, the court shall (A) order the release of a certified copy of the
    21  long-form  birth  certificate  to  the  adopted person, or (B) when such
    22  birth certificate is not available, order that the identifying  informa-
    23  tion be made available to the adopted person.
    24    (ii) If the birth parent requests continued confidentiality, the court
    25  shall  direct  the  release of a certified copy of the birth certificate
    26  with the identifying information regarding  such  parent  redacted,  and
    27  shall  provide  such  adopted  person with such redacted copy and file a
    28  copy of the redacted version in the court  record.  Such  redacted  copy
    29  shall  include  non-identifying  information  as that term is defined in
    30  subdivision three of section forty-one  hundred  thirty-eight-c  of  the
    31  public health law.
    32    (iii)  Where  there are two identified birth parents and only one such
    33  parent  has  requested  confidentiality,  the  identifying   information
    34  regarding  the  other  parent  may,  in  the discretion of the court, be
    35  released to the adopted person in accordance with this subdivision.  The
    36  consent  of one parent shall not be construed to be consent by the other
    37  parent.
    38    The court shall issue a written  order  when  making  a  determination
    39  pursuant to subparagraphs (ii) and (iii) of this paragraph.
    40    (e)  (i)  If after reasonable and good faith efforts pursuant to para-
    41  graph (a) of this subdivision, the birth parent is unable to be notified
    42  or does not respond to such notification, the department of health shall
    43  so notify the court. Unless the court, in its discretion, for good cause
    44  specified in its order,  determines  that  the  release  of  such  birth
    45  certificate  or  identifying information would be clearly detrimental to
    46  the welfare of the birth or  adoptive  parents,  the  court  shall:  (A)
    47  release,  or direct the release of, an unredacted, certified copy of the
    48  long-form birth certificate to the adopted person, or (B) if such  birth
    49  certificate is not available, release or direct the release of the iden-
    50  tifying  information  that would have appeared on the original long-form
    51  birth certificate. For the purposes of this paragraph, good cause  shall
    52  include,  but  is  not limited to, evidence concerning the wishes of the
    53  birth parent regarding confidentiality as expressed at the time  of  the
    54  adoption or surrender. The court shall issue a written order when making
    55  a determination pursuant to this paragraph.

        A. 2901--C                          4

     1    (ii)  Where  the  court  determines not to release an unredacted birth
     2  certificate pursuant to subparagraph (i) of this  paragraph,  the  court
     3  shall  direct  the  release of a certified copy of the birth certificate
     4  with the identifying information regarding the birth parent  or  parents
     5  redacted, and shall provide such adopted person with such redacted copy.
     6    (f) Upon the consent of a birth parent to release identifying informa-
     7  tion  pursuant  to  this  subdivision,  the  department  of health shall
     8  provide such parent with  a  contact  preference  form  that  shall,  if
     9  completed  by  the birth parent, accompany a copy of a birth certificate
    10  or other identifying information provided to the  adopted  person  under
    11  this  subdivision  and  be  filed with the adoption information registry
    12  established by section forty-one hundred thirty-eight-c  of  the  public
    13  health  law.  The  contact  preference  form shall include the following
    14  content to be completed at the option of the birth parent:
    15    (i) I am willing to or would like to be contacted.
    16    (ii) I would prefer to be contacted only through an intermediary.
    17    (iii) I have completed a medical history form and have filed  it  with
    18  the department of health.
    19    (iv)  Please do not contact me. If I decide later that I would like to
    20  be contacted, I will submit an updated contact preference  form  to  the
    21  court or the department of health.
    22    (v) Add any additional information here (if desired):
    23    The  medical history form shall be in a form prescribed by the depart-
    24  ment of health and shall be supplied to the birth parent with a  contact
    25  preference form.
    26    The  medical history form and contact preference form are confidential
    27  communications from the birth parent to the person named on  the  sealed
    28  birth  certificate and shall be placed in separate sealed envelopes upon
    29  receipt from the birth parent.
    30    The sealed  envelopes  containing  the  contact  preference  form  and
    31  medical history form shall be released to a person requesting his or her
    32  birth  certificate  under  this subdivision or his or her agent, such as
    33  his or her attorney, with appropriate authorization.  The contact  pref-
    34  erence form and medical history form are private communications from the
    35  birth  parent to the person named on the sealed birth certificate and no
    36  copies of the forms shall be retained by the court.
    37    (g) The department of health shall develop an affirmative  information
    38  campaign  and  widely  disseminate  to  the public, through its website,
    39  public service announcements and other means, in multiple languages  and
    40  through  multiple  outlets, information concerning the adoption informa-
    41  tion registry established by section forty-one hundred thirty-eight-c of
    42  the public health law and the provisions of this subdivision, including,
    43  but not limited to, the means by which a birth parent may file a written
    44  confirmation pursuant to paragraph (h)  of  this  subdivision  with  the
    45  court  that  ordered the adoption or the department of health that he or
    46  she wishes to maintain the confidentiality of  identifying  information,
    47  or consents to the release of such identifying information.
    48    (h)  A  birth  parent  may,  at any time, file a written and notarized
    49  confirmation with the court  that  ordered  the  adoption  or  with  the
    50  department of health indicating that he or she wishes to maintain confi-
    51  dentiality  of identifying information or that he or she consents to the
    52  release of identifying information. The department of health shall noti-
    53  fy the court and provide the court with a copy of such written confirma-
    54  tion. The court shall honor such written confirmation unless it is with-
    55  drawn or modified, in notarized writing, by the birth parent.

        A. 2901--C                          5
 
     1    (i) For the purposes  of  this  subdivision,  "adopted  person"  shall
     2  include  a  person who was surrendered as described in subdivision seven
     3  of section one hundred nine of this article.
     4    §  4.  Subdivision  10  of section 4138-c of the public health law, as
     5  added by chapter 435 of the laws of 2008, is amended and a new  subdivi-
     6  sion 10-a is added to read as follows:
     7    10.  The  commissioner  is directed to develop an adoption information
     8  registry birth parent registration consent form to be completed  at  the
     9  time of surrender or consent to adoption. Such form shall include check-
    10  off boxes to be appropriately marked by the biological parent or parents
    11  whose consent is necessary for the relinquishment of such child indicat-
    12  ing  whether  or  not such parent consents to the receipt of identifying
    13  information and a certified copy of the original  birth  certificate  by
    14  the  child  to  be  adopted.  A  copy  of such form shall be sent to the
    15  department with copies of the original and amended  birth  certificates.
    16  Such  form shall state that it is the responsibility of the birth parent
    17  to update the registry with any changes in contact information. The form
    18  shall additionally advise the biological parents of the adoption medical
    19  information sub-registry and the procedures by which a birth parent  may
    20  provide  medical  information  to  the sub-registry. Notwithstanding any
    21  inconsistent provision of law  to  the  contrary,  the  commissioner  is
    22  directed  to develop any rules and regulations necessary to expedite the
    23  transfer of information from any agency, court or  department  necessary
    24  to implement this subdivision.
    25    10-a. Notwithstanding any inconsistent provision of law to the contra-
    26  ry,  for  surrenders occurring and orders of adoptions entered after the
    27  effective date of this  subdivision,  where  the  biological  parent  or
    28  parents  whose consent is necessary for the relinquishment of such child
    29  consents to the release of a certified  copy  of  the  child's  original
    30  birth  certificate  or  does  not  affirmatively  request,  on  the form
    31  described in subdivision ten of this section, that such  original  birth
    32  certificate  remain  confidential,  the  surrendered  or  adopted person
    33  shall, after attaining the age of eighteen and upon application  to  the
    34  department  and  adequate proof of identity, have the right to receive a
    35  certified copy of their original birth certificate.
    36    § 5. This act shall take effect April  15,  2017,  provided,  however,
    37  that  paragraphs  (g)  and  (h)  of  subdivision 5 of section 114 of the
    38  domestic relations law, as added by section three  of  this  act,  shall
    39  take effect on the thirtieth day after such effective date.
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