For 30 years I've been an advocate for open records. I do understand
that HB 5428 is a horrid bill. What I don't understand is how any legislator who is serving the people can vote Yea. My thought is that the length of the bill was meant to confuse as many as possible. How many legislators actually sat down and read through 80 pages (67 if saved into a Word file). I was at the hearing and saw first-hand how some of the senators were talking among themselves and laughing. Of course I don't know what they were laughing about but their minds did not seem to be totally on what was being said at the hearing. I won't go into what all I viewed but the rudeness and disrespect did stand out.
Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) displayed power and perhaps it was used to fast-track this bill. I urge all of you to read an old blog at Chicago Reader
about Rep. Feigenholtz not being a reformer. She claims to have adoptees within her heart but yet she sees nothing wrong with leaving many behind. An example of how stupid she is: after the hearing on April 13 she walked up to me, shook my hand and thanked me for my support. I had a "NO to IL HB 5428" sticker attached to the top that I was wearing. When I replied with an unfriendly expression on my face, "we are enemies", she started in about how we are not. She says that she wants what we want but this bill was the best that she could do. Then Rep. Feigenholtz moved on to talk to a reporter.
Melisha Mitchell with White Oak Foundation introduced herself and said that she reads the blogs and that she has never charged anyone for help. I thought that I would puke for certain. Then Sara entered our conversation by saying that adoptees want to find birth families and they want medical records. I told her that there are others like myself that want our civil rights restored. I went on to tell her that my family has been found and I have my original birth certificate but my civil rights have not been restored.
A pure clean bill I'm sure would be difficult to get passed into law. But what can seem to be impossible still holds a shred of hope. Present the bill well, get lots of supporters and give it a try. If it does not pass now, then keep sponsoring one like it every year until it does pass. Determination is the key to accomplishng tasks.
Those who attended the hearing on April 13 can confirm my saying that Rep. Feigenholtz received compliments as if she had just invented something greater than electricity. I forgot to take a "barf bag" with me so I did stomach the BS the best that I could. She had some idiot from Alaska testify as a supporter and he went on and on and on some more about his life. This was after the chairman for the hearing did announce that only two supporters and two opponents would be allowed to testify. Yep! I still have not figured out why the Alaskan's testimony was relevant other than he had been in an orphanage. It was all that I could do to not fall asleep. Then a lady representing The Cradle in Evanston testified in support of the bill. She talked as if the bill is what IL adoptees have needed for years. My guess is that she has not read the bill or she would know that many would be left behind.
Then the chairman announced that one opponent who felt the bill did not go far enough could testify plus one who felt that the bill went too far. Now how were we opponents to know which two could approach the table and speak. I told Gay Brown, A Chicago adoptee who now lives in NJ to grab a seat. An adoptive father grabbed the other one. Of course he got to speak first and he does not know his beans from apple butter. It was evident that the senators realized it because of the questions they threw at him. But yet he was allowed to go on and on. Mary Dixon with the ACLU was called up to clarify some things since the man had several in the room shaking their heads. She does not know much more than he. She actually "quoted" a law but left out a sentence. She did not understand some of the questions asked of her so one or two were repeated. I felt sorry for Gay sitting there waiting and waiting to be be able to speak. She did a great job when the opportunity was given to her! She talked about not knowing one's nationality and some medical issues she has experienced. But she did place emphasis on the bill being unfair and unconstitutional to all adoptees born in IL. She did stress that our basic civil and human rights must be restored. I do think what she had to say must have tugged at some hearts. Unforutnately the majority of the senators did vote Yea. But you must remember that this is Illinois and politics are more important than lives. Treat people inhumane but go with what your party leaders want. Actually I do question how they can vote prior to reading written testimony but they sure did it. But I did hand my own in anyway before I left and that of an organization's.
Those who know some of the IL history have heard of Al Capone. Yes, the mafia gunned down people but then cared for the deceased's family. Now we have a different mafia in Springfield that does not gun down people at the Capitol. What they do elsewhere, I'm not sure. But they look you right in the face while they aare actually stabbing you in the back. They think that we are stupid when we are smarter than at least many of them. They are not as nice as Al Capone but do refrain from having someone gun you down at the Capitol or in the parking areas. They even let Blago walk away so we are probably safe in that respect. Just how long I'm not sure.
Gay Brown and I were interviewed by Steve Staeger with WCIA3
. He did a great job of reporting the story and I urge you to listen to it. A few words that Gay said at the hearing are part of the film.
This bill is getting closer and closer to the governor's desk but we still have a chance of defeating it with the full Senate. We can not give up
this fight. I admit that I think the chances are slim of winning but until the full Senate votes we have got to let them know how we feel about this bill. Don't wait until tomorrow or sit back while others speak out. Everyone is needed - even get your neighbor's dog to bark "NO" over the phone. Just a one minute message left on voice mail or with an administrative person could help. All IL adopted adults must have their civil rights restored and nothing less is acceptable. Please quote that last sentence if you wish!