FISCAL NOTE

Date Requested: January 26, 2018
Time Requested: 01:14 PM
Agency: Health and Human Resources, WV Department of
CBD Number: Version: Bill Number: Resolution Number:
1743 Introduced HB4333
CBD Subject: Domestic Relations


FUND(S):

5144 VITAL STATISTICS ACCOUNT

Sources of Revenue:

Special Fund

Legislation creates:

Creates New Program



Fiscal Note Summary


Effect this measure will have on costs and revenues of state government.


    The purpose of this bill is to revise current law relating to access to adoption records by adoptees; authorizing adult adoptees access to certain records; requiring birth parents to provide certain health information at time of adoption; allowing birth parents to designate a contact; directing the Department of Health and Human Resources to administer collection of records, require additional information and charge a reasonable fee for records copies; providing a procedure for collection and disseminate information; and authorizing the Department of Health and Human Resources to promulgate legislative rules needed to administer the program.
    The Department estimates the cost for this legislation to be $124,485 the first year and $116,409 ongoing. These costs will be paid from the Vital Statistics Fund (5144). The Department also anticipates the new legislation will create annual revenues of $24,000 in new fee collections.
    



Fiscal Note Detail


Effect of Proposal Fiscal Year
2018
Increase/Decrease
(use"-")
2019
Increase/Decrease
(use"-")
Fiscal Year
(Upon Full
Implementation)
1. Estmated Total Cost 0 124,845 116,409
Personal Services 0 111,209 111,209
Current Expenses 0 7,636 5,200
Repairs and Alterations 0 0 0
Assets 0 0 0
Other 0 6,000 0
2. Estimated Total Revenues 0 24,000 24,000


Explanation of above estimates (including long-range effect):


    The estimated $111,209 in Personal Services for FY2019 and ongoing is for a Health and Human Resources Specialist Senior to operate the Adoption Registry and an Office Assistant III to provide clerical assistance. It is important to note that this proposed legislation will also require assistance from existing Vital Registration staff at no additional cost. Included in this estimated Personal Services cost are salaries in the amount of $73,590 for 1.00 FTE HHR Specialist Senior ($44,412) and 1.00 FTE Office Assistant III ($29,178); and Fringes and Benefits in the amount of $37,619. Fringes and Benefits include Public Employees Health Insurance Administrative Fees of $100 ($50 per employee x 2 FTEs); Personnel Administrative Fee of $360 ($180 per FTE x 2 FTE); Health Insurance of $18,456 ($9,228 per FTE x 2 FTEs); Social Security of $5,630 ($73,590 x .0765); Retirement of $8,095 ($73,590 x .11); Workers Compensation of $274 ($73,590 x .00372); and WV OPEB Contribution of $4,704 ($2,352 per FTE x 2 FTEs).
    The estimated Current Expenses of $7,636 for FY2019 and $5,200 ongoing includes landline telephone service at $1,200 ($50 per month x 12 months x 2.00 FTEs); desktop computer equipment (one-time) at $1,536 ($768 x 2.00 FTEs); office supplies at $400 ($200 per FTE x 2.00 FTEs); fax machine (one-time) at $400; dedicated fax line at $600 ($50 per month x 12 months); network printer (one-time) at $500; form printing costs at $3,000; and microfilm viewer equipment (one-time) at $6,000.
    It is estimated that the Department could receive 2,000 requests in the first and second years after implementation. This proposed legislation includes a fee of no more than $12 which is the current fee for each non-certified original birth certificate issued. If the bill passage date is July 1, 2018, estimated revenue for FY2019 and ongoing fiscal years is $24,000 per year (2,000 requests x $12 per request). Although it is difficult to fully estimate costs of implementing and operating a new program of this nature, it is clear that the $12 fee specified in this proposed legislation for maintaining the current system and issuing non-certified copies will not cover associated expenditure costs of the program.
    



Memorandum


    House Bill 4333 will impact the Department's Vital Registration Office in the Bureau for Public Health. It creates a new Code section, §48-22-803.
    Proposed section §48-22-803 (a) allows adult adoptees and their lineal descendants to make applications to access adoption files. It appears that a lineal descendant can make a request with or without approval of a deceased adult adoptee. Additionally, it is not clear if the use of the term "descendants" requesting adoption file information are lineal descendants (children, grandchildren, etc.) or any descendants (nephews, nieces, etc.) and whether they must be adults themselves.
    Proposed section §48-22-803 (b) (c) allows biological parents the opportunity to signal their intention that the adoptee, once an adult, can obtain identifying information. However, it also allows the biological parent to indicate that identifying information contained in the adoption file be redacted before it is released.
    Proposed section §48-22-803 (b) allows biological parents opportunities to indicate their preferences for future contact by adult adoptees or their lineal descendants and offers options for the contact. However, §48-22-803 does not include language prohibiting adoptees from making contact regardless of the biological parents' preferences if they are provided non-redacted information.
    Proposed section §48-22-803 (c) allows biological parents opportunities to add or revise information contained in the adoption file, including changes to social and medical history and preferences related to contact and release of identifying information. Adoption files are normally indexed or referenced under the name of the child after adoption, not before. A biological parent wishing to add or change information in an adoption file will need to provide the child's adopted name, which they usually do not know. An entirely new process for indexing adoption records will need to be implemented and maintained to meet the requirements of this provision.
    Proposed section §48-22-803 does not refer to the existing Mutual Consent Voluntary Adoption Registry, created under W.Va. Code §48-23-101, and administered by the Department's Bureau for Children and Families.
    It is uncertain if the intent of this proposed legislation is to start a process of creating an adoption file now for access 18 years into the future or if existing adoption information held by the State Registrar will also be impacted. Much of what is to be included in the adoption file under this proposed legislation, especially information related to medical and social history of biological parents, is absent. Contact information and biological parents' intention for release of identifying information or willingness to be contacted by the adult adoptee is also absent.
    It is important to note that not all adoption proceedings that take place in West Virginia courts are for children that are born in the State. Under this proposed legislation, there will be instances where an adoption file is created in West Virginia with no matching birth certificate. Conversely, not all adoptions of children born in West Virginia take place in the State. It is unknown if another state will gather and transmit information to West Virginia.
    Based upon the bill passage date and any other verbiage added to this proposed legislation prior to the effective date, it is likely that revenue will be generated in FY2019 absent any challenges by affected parties (birth parents) that could delay implementation. Historically, challenges have occurred in some states that have opened adoption records. In other states, there were a large number of requests during the first few years after implementation with declining requests afterwards.
    No effective start date is included in this proposed legislation. If passed with an effective date of July 1, 2018, it is likely that the Program would start before Rules, as called for in the proposed legislation, are implemented.
    



    Person submitting Fiscal Note: Bill J. Crouch
    Email Address: Bill.J.Crouch@wv.gov