Saturday, March 27, 2010

Updated IAJGS Legislative Alert: Maine and Massachusetts; NY NARA Office Relocation

An updated IAJGS Legislative Alert was posted to the IAJGS website
on March 24, 2010.

Unfortunately, legislators continue to erroneously believe access
to vital records (birth, marriage and death records) are the cause
of identity fraud and as result some egregious bills have been
introduced in both the states of Maine and Massachusetts-which
are currently open access states. Especially, if you are a resident
of either state, please see the information regarding these bills
which are included in the updated IAJGS Legislative Alert—scroll
down the document to get to the specific state:
Go to www.iajgs.org and click either on the left hand button
for legislation and then latest alert, or in the middle of the
screen next to Public Records Access where the newsboy is and click
on latest alerts.

Maine LD 1781 would require a 100-year wait from the time of birth,
marriage, divorce or death to obtain a copy of the record if you
are not a person with a direct or legitimate interest. The
genealogical community, including IAJGS have been trying to educate
the legislators, including trying to get genealogists included in
the definition of direct and legitimate interest. The Joint Select
Committee on Health and Human Services amended the bill- but made
it worse requiring genealogists to obtain a researcher identification
card annually for $50 plus the cost of the documents. Please read
the IAJGS letters sent to the Joint Select Health and Human Services
Committee and the Joint Select Judiciary Committee--the
later which has yet to decide if they will hear the bill on the
sole issue of access. (IAJGS believes the bill is in direct
opposition to Maine's existing Freedom of Access Act).
The Legislative Alert also includes the proposed amendments
by the Maine genealogists who will be trying to get the bill
amended on the floors of the Maine House and Senate.

Massachusetts S 840 which would close all vital records after
1841(not a typo).

Massachusetts H2064 would permit the state registrar to verify
information by entering into agreements with state and federal
agencies for information as an alternative for issuing certified
copies of birth, marriage or death records. The bill also has
other problematic provisions--read the Legislative Alert.
The Massachusetts Genealogical Council is working on
both bills.

New York NARA Move : Additional information on the move for
the NYC NARA office in 18-24 months.

The IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee works
as a group to address issues of access of vital records:
birth, marriage, death and census records. If you are aware
of any governmental action that would reduce access please
let us know by contacting me.

Other updates on previously reported issues are also
included in the Legislative Alert.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS, Director-at-large and
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

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