Rep. Kerry Benninghoff bill on adoptee rights passes House committee

Legislation to reinstate adult adoptees’ rights to access their original birth certificates passed a state House Children and Youth Committee vote Thursday.

House Bill 162, introduced by Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, R-Bellefonte, seeks to reinstate the right of adult adoptees upon reaching the age of 19, a news release said. Under current state law, adoptees may petition the courts for a copy of their records, but the request can be denied by a judge.

“In a time when transparency is more prevalent than ever,” Benninghoff said in the release, “we have to ask ourselves why this information is still being denied.”

Additional protection was added to the bill to allow birth parents to redact their names after the law’s effective date, the release said.

Similar legislation passed last session, but the session expired before the legislation was taken up by the state Senate for consideration.