by Dawn Scott, Vice President
STAR-Support Texas Adoptee Rights
Legislative sessions can seem a bit daunting here in Texas, and the political climate itself might feel so polarizing and exacerbating that we tune out, but here are a few updates on bills that I hope you’ll be interested in hearing about as they directly impact our adoption community.
HB2725 authored by freshman Rep. Gina Calanni, herself an adoptee, enjoyed one of the highest tallies of Co-authorship in the House with 35 sponsors, aligning both sides of the aisle. It would have restored the right of an adopted person to access their OBC (original birth certificate) without the current protracted adjudication process. HB2725 successfully passed out of the Public Health Committee after an eleventh inning revote thanks to the continued efforts of advocates and Capital allies. In a pivotal moment, Chairman Senfronia Thompson convened her committee on very short notice exclusively to gather that key majority vote before the deadline. It then passed favorably out from the Calendars Committee and was scheduled to be heard for a floor vote on the final night of eligibility, but was left to die stalled behind a few controversial bills that were hotly debated in the very last hours of session. Heartbreaking as this seems, the good news is legislators were still signing on in support that evening, a strong signal that momentum continues to mount for this clean OBC access bill. Equal rights for adult adoptees remains a nonpartisan, popular issue that will return in 2021!
A positive outcome for foster youth was attained with passage of HB 123 by Rep James White, that streamlined procedures for obtaining drivers licenses. Companion bill SB481 by Sen. Kirk Watson was placed onto the coveted local and uncontested calendar in the final days of session and it’s passage was widely applauded as a victory to further independence and self-determination of youth overcoming systemic bureaucratic hurdles. CASA among other groups supported this legislation.
A bill establishing criminal penalties for physicians and others who tamper with or otherwise violate the integrity of transferred genetic material during ART and insemination procedures was also passed. Initiated by citizen champion, Eve Wiley of Dallas, whose surprise DNA saga attracted national media attention, even appearing on abc’s 20-20, this law aims to prevent fertility fraud by raising the offense to a felony sexual assault. SB 1259 sponsored by Joan Huffman, was passed unanimously by both chambers, signed by Gov. Abbott and became law effective Sept.1st.
Dawn Scott is the current Vice President of Support Texas Adoptee Rights (STAR). She has been serving on the board since 2015. She is also past president of Adoption Knowledge Affiliates and currently serves in an advisory role to the AKA Board of Directors. Dawn is passionate about adoptee rights for all adoptees, both in Texas and nationally. When Dawn is not advocating at the Capitol she is devoting time to her passions - her Beauty Counter small business, and her top priority, raising her daughter Ava with the same commitment to leadership, advocacy and truth.
www.texasadopteerights.org & www.Beautycounter.com/dawnscott
With the advent of DNA testing, the rising prevalence of open adoptions, and the challenges we face in our current foster care system, Adoption Knowledge Affiliates is more relevant than ever. As we approach our 25th year serving Central Texas, we’d like to take a moment to say thank you for your dedicated support. AKA is a grassroots, member funded organization, advocating for change and providing community support. Without you, we could not offer our individual services, innovative monthly programing, and our annual conference. Impacting the Austin community and beyond with our message of truth and honesty in adoption practices since 1992 is indeed an accomplishment. It is an accomplishment you can take pride in, not possible without your generous support, year after year.
Guest Blogger with an AKA Art Fundraiser, Artist Sharon Frech! Raffle tickets available through March 30th!
Click here to learn more about Sharon’s art, her story, and how she is donating the proceeds from a few of her pieces to Adoption Knowledge Affiliates in Austin, Texas.
If you donate $20 you get 10 tickets, $30 you get 20 tickets, or select your own donation amount. Drawing will be after the close of the exhibit, which is March 30, 2016. Winner will be notified by email. All proceeds go to fund Adoption Knowledge Affiliates Annual Conference in November. Click here for AKA’s Donation PayPal Link.
a concept, a belief and an action
A lack of choice and being chosen
A legal solution to a spiritual problem
A spiritual solution to a legal problem
A loving choice and a thrusting upon
A nurturing touch yet a stealing away