of Increased Access to Medical Information for Adoptees: Assembly Bill
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.
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 biological
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
Assembly Bill 513, the bill I authored to create a Frank Lloyd Wright
Trail moves closer to passage.
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
What's Been Happening
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
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
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!
Union at the Capitol. From L to R- Kevin Hauser, Jack Gill, Rep.
Novak, Kari Bye, Kyle Nelson
Broadcaster Day in Madison. From L to R - Beth Fruit, Rep. Novak,
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)