January 29, 2016

 Passage of Increased Access to Medical Information for Adoptees: Assembly Bill 513


I gave my maiden speech on the Assembly Floor last week on behalf of my bill, Assembly Bill 513.  This Bipartisan Legislation Helps Adoptees Make Prudent, Informed Decisions About Treatment Options.


As a parent of two adopted sons and a past foster parent for children waiting to be adopted, I’m very proud to author AB 513. This bill makes a number of changes to update current law and increase access to information sharing between adoptees and birth parents.

Wisconsin’s adoption record search program was created in May of 1982.
It was a grassroots effort by adoptees, adoptive parents and birth parents who wanted to create a respectful process for information sharing and reunion. The program maintains information on all children adopted in the State of Wisconsin and links the original birth certificate to the closed adoption record. The program’s application process protects our adoptees from exploitation by private for profit internet entities. The program receives more than 400 outreach requests each year.

Adoptees often want to know the medical background of their biolog
ical parents so they are better informed of health risks. For example, an adoptee may want to know if they have an increased likelihood of developing cancer, heart disease or mental illness based on family history.

This bill allows the release of a birth parent’s identifying information when that birth parent is known to be deceased and it does not breach the confidentiality of another legally identified birth parent.
Recently, a female adoptee applied to the program with a request for an updated health history and reunion. It was discovered that her birth mother died very young from ovarian cancer. The adoptee was provided with non-identifying information from her adoption file, but had to petition the circuit court in her county to have the program court ordered to release her deceased birth mother’s identity so that she could pursue obtaining more family medical history.

Another change this bill makes is to allow an adult adoptee to file an affidavit that would allow the Adoption Search Program to release his or her identifying information to their birth parent upon the parent’s request as long as it does not breach the confidentiality. In one case a birth mother desperately wished to be able to contact the adoptee but feared her husband’s reaction and did not want her address or telephone number released-she asked if she could have the adoptee’s name and phone number and make contact herself-the adoptee was very willing to do so, but there is no legal option in the program to currently do this. This legislation would allow an adoptee to file permission to release his/her contact information to the birth parent.

The changes we are making today by passing this bill bring the program up to date and bring it in line with current medical and genetic advancements. I firmly believe that every child needs a loving home which is one reason I personally became involved in the state adoption program. This bill will allow all children who have been adopted the access to their medical information so they can live a healthy and prosperous life.

The bill was passed by both the Senate and Assembly, and will now go to the Governor’s desk for his signature.


Unveiling of the Wisconsin Cares Package



Last Week, the Speaker’s Task Force on Alzheimer’s and Dementia introduced ten, bipartisan bills to improve the care of those suffering from these diseases by providing community-based resources and education.

Last week, I joined my fellow members of the bi-partisan Speaker’s Task Force on Alzheimer’s and Dementia to unveil ten, bipartisan bills that improve the care of those suffering from these diseases by providing community-based resources and education. Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in America and the only one in the top ten that can’t be prevented, treated or cured, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

One of the bills, Assembly Bill 788, is one that I authored, and I’m honored to play a part in our fight against these diseases that are affecting far too many of our loved ones.  This bill is a targeted way to ensure that rural communities have the necessary resources to adequately care for those suffering from Alzheimer’s or Dementia.

The bill will increase funding to DHS for the fiscal year 2016-17 to authorize the hiring of four additional Dementia Care Specialists in counties with a population under 150,000. It will also increase funding to DHS to fill one additional position for the training of Dementia Care Specialists in ADRCs to educate employers about issues relating to dementia with their employees and family members of employees.

The initiatives we introduced are a good step in the right direction, and we will continue our work to finding solutions to this long-term problem.

The legislation was developed using the input from experts, caregivers, state officials and community members, many of who attended the six bipartisan task force hearings held around the state. These are the first recommendations from lawmakers and more policy initiatives may follow before the task force completes its work.


Frank Lloyd Wright Trail Update

Assembly Bill 513, the bill I authored to create a Frank Lloyd Wright Trail moves closer to passage.


On Wednesday, The Assembly Committee on Tourism, Chaired by Representative Tranel held an Executive Session on AB513. The Committee on Tourism voted unanimously (14-0), to pass the bill out of committee. The Frank Lloyd Wright Trail will span from Racine to Richland Center. This bill has been a great example of bi-partisan cooperation



What's Been Happening



Recently, I've had the pleasure of attending some local events, in addition to meeting with people at the Capitol in Madison.


Last week, I sat down with a group of constituents from the Credit Union during their day at the Capitol.  It was great to chat with the group while they were in Madison.


During the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association day at the Capitol, I had the opportunity to meet with Ron & Beth Fruit from WRCO Radio in Richland Center, WI.


I was glad to have also met with several other groups recently, including a few different Farm Bureaus.
Lafayette County Farm Bureau members, Iowa County Farm Bureau members, and Richland. I was able to sit down with the groups to discuss the various Agriculture policy issues. Thanks for visiting!




Credit Union at the Capitol. From L to R- Kevin Hauser, Jack Gill, Rep. Novak, Kari Bye, Kyle Nelson WI Broadcaster Day in Madison. From L to R - Beth Fruit, Rep. Novak, Ron Fruit.
Lafayette, and Iowa County Farm Bureau. Pictured are Christina Benson, Leon Wolfe, Joseph Althaus, Dan Adams, Nancy Meyers, John Meyers, Rick Althaus, Kevin Johnson, Adam Heisner, Brianna Berget. Richland County Farm Bureau. Rep. Novak (L) and Dick Hauser (R)



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State Capitol Room 304 North - PO Box 8953, Madison, WI 53708
(608) 266-7502
Email: Rep.Novak@legis.wisconsin.gov