Delegate Mike Griffith, who represents District 35’s Harford and Cecil counties, has introduced HB0999, the companion bill to SB0331. The bills will restore the right of all Maryland adopted people to request and obtain their own original birth certificates, without discriminatory restrictions.
Delegate Griffith, a Republican, sits on the Judiciary Committee, the Civil Law and Procedure Subcommittee, the Juvenile Law Subcommittee, the Harford County Delegation, the Cecil County Delegation, the Eastern Shore Delegation, and the Veteran’s Caucus. He is a former U.S. Marine.
SB0331 and HB0999, if enacted, will restore the unrestricted right that all Maryland adoptees enjoyed until 1939: the right to request and obtain their own original birth records.
Maryland’s current law provides for the release of the OBC, but only to adoptees 21 years of age or older who were adopted on or after January 1, 2000. Current law also allows birthparents and adoptees to file disclosure vetoes. SB0331 and HB0999, which are identical to legislation in the 2020 session, eliminates this discriminatory framework and provides for the unrestricted right to request and obtain the OBC.
The bill allows for genuine contact preference forms for both birthparents and adoptees, allows a birthparent to request and obtain the OBC in addition to the adult adoptee at age 18, and sunsets the few prior disclosure vetoes on file, beginning October 1, 2021, converting them into contact preferences indicating that no contact is preferred.
The bills also provide rights to descendants of an adoptee if the adoptee is deceased.
Maryland Adoptee Rights is the key organization in Maryland on the bill, and it is also part of the Capitol Coalition for Adoptee Rights. The Senate has already completed a hearing on SB0331 in the Judicial Proceedings Committee. We are awaiting word in the House for a hearing date in the Health and Government Operations Committee, where HB0999 has been initially referred.