FISCAL NOTE

Date Requested: January 24, 2020
Time Requested: 01:06 PM
Agency: Health and Human Resources, WV Department of
CBD Number: Version: Bill Number: Resolution Number:
1069 Introduced SB25
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 as it relates to access to adoption records by adoptees and lineal descendants. The Bill authorizes an adult adoptee, and lineal descendants if adoptee is deceased, access to a non-certified copy of a pre-adoption birth certificate; requires birth parents to complete a medical history form; allows birth parents to designate a contact preference and allows them to provide certain information; allows birth parents to request name redaction; provides for a name redacting process; directs the Department to administer records, require additional information, and charge a reasonable fee; provides for tracking of information and reporting to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Health and Human Resources Accountability; and authorizes the Department to promulgate legislative rules.
    The bill creates a new program within the Bureau for Public Health, Vital Statistics for accepting applications and providing adoption information which may include locating and notifying biological parents.
    The Department estimates the cost for this legislation to be $78,534 for FY2021 and $120,232 ongoing. Anticipated revenue estimated at $24,000 per year upon implementation.



Fiscal Note Detail


Effect of Proposal Fiscal Year
2020
Increase/Decrease
(use"-")
2021
Increase/Decrease
(use"-")
Fiscal Year
(Upon Full
Implementation)
1. Estmated Total Cost 0 78,534 120,232
Personal Services 0 66,734 114,932
Current Expenses 0 11,800 5,300
Repairs and Alterations 0 0 0
Assets 0 0 0
Other 0 0 0
2. Estimated Total Revenues 0 0 24,000


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


    The estimated $66,734 in Personal Services for FY2021 is for a Health and Human Resources Specialist Senior to create required forms, new adoption filing system, and operate the Adoption Registry. Personal Services costs include salary for 1.00 FTE HHR Specialist Senior of $46,629 and Fringes and Benefits in the amount of $20,105. Fringes and Benefits include Public Employees Health Insurance Administrative Fee of $50; Personnel Administrative Fee of $180; Health Insurance of $9,456; Social Security/Medicare of $3,567 ($46,629 x .0765); Retirement of $4,663 ($46,629 x .10); Workers Compensation of $173 ($46,629 x .00372); and WV OPEB Contribution of $2,016.
    The estimated $114,932 in Personal Services for FY2022 and ongoing fiscal years 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 SB25 will also require assistance from existing Vital Registration staff at no additional cost. Personal Services costs include salaries of 77,552 for 1.00 FTE HHR Specialist Senior at $46,629 and 1.00 FTE Office Assistant III at $30,923; and Fringes and Benefits in the amount of $37,380. 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 $18,912 ($9,456 per FTE x 2 FTEs); Social Security/Medicare of $5,933 ($77,552 x .0765); Retirement of $7,755 ($77,552 x .10); Workers Compensation of $288 ($77,552 x .00372); and WV OPEB Contribution of $4,032 ($2,016 per FTE x 2 FTEs).
    The estimated Current Expenses ($5,800) and Equipment ($6,000) for FY2021 of $11,800 and includes landline telephone service at $600 ($50 per month x 12 months x 1.00 FTE); computer equipment at $1,100 ($1,100 x 1.00 FTE); office supplies at $200 ($200 per FTE x 1.00 FTEs); fax machine at $400; network printer at $500; microfilm viewer at $6,000; website maintenance to include required forms on Vital's website at $1,000; and form printing costs at $2,000.
    The estimated Current Expenses for FY2022 and ongoing fiscal years is $5,300 and include landline telephone service at $1,200 ($50 per month x 12 months x 2.00 FTEs); computer equipment at $1,100 ($1,100 x 1.00 FTE); office supplies at $400 ($200 per FTE x 2.00 FTEs); dedicated fax line at $600 ($50 per month x 12 months); and form printing costs at $2,000.
    It is estimated that Vital could receive 2,000 requests for copies of non-certified original birth records in the first and second fiscal years upon implementation on July 1, 2021. SB25 includes a fee of no more than the current fee charged for each non-certified original birth certificate issued which is $12.00. Should SB25 pass with an effective date of July 1, 2021, there is no estimated revenue for FY2020 and FY2021. Estimated revenue for FY2022 and FY2023 is $24,000 per fiscal year (2,000 requests x $12 per request). Even though 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 of original birth records will not cover associated expenditure costs of the program.



Memorandum


    The proposed legislation will impact the Department's Vital Registration Office in the Bureau for Public Health. It creates a new Code section, §48-22-803. Vital has several concerns surrounding this proposed legislation.
    
    Proposed section §48-22-803 allows adult adoptees and their lineal descendants to make applications to access adoption files. Additionally, the legislation does not address age of requestor.
    Proposed section §48-22-803 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 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, there is no exact provision as to what should happen if there is no contact preference form or redaction form placed on file by a birth parent. Proposed section §48-22-803 allows biological parents opportunities to add or revise information contained in the adoption file, including changes to 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.
    Proposed section §48-22-803 does not indicate if the Department will be tasked with notifying birth parents if a request is made for a non-certified copy of the birth certificate for the child they relinquished for adoption. Without notification of a request, the birth parents would not have an opportunity to provide the required forms. If the Department is tasked with notifying birth parents, the costs associated will be greatly increased as there is no current contact information in the adoption file for birth parents.
    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 unlikely that another state will gather and transmit information to West Virginia.



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