Monday, February 6, 2012

Virginia Vital Records Access Bills Pass Respective Chambers

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

I have previously written on this forum about Virginia HR 272 [death and marriage], SB 309 [marriage records] and SB 310 [death records] which reduce the "closed" period for marriages and deaths held by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) from 50 to 25 years. The Virginia House and Senate have unanimously passed the bills in their respective houses, requiring the House bill to be approved by the Senate, and the Senate bills by the House, before being sent on to the Governor. If you want to look at the bills actions go to: http://legis.state.va.us/ and type in the bill numbers.

We have been advised by the former president of the Virginia Genealogical Society, Peter Broadbent, that another vital records bill will be introduced next week: SB 660, in the Senate Education and Health Subcommittee on Health Care replacing the existing placeholder bill
http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?121+ful+SB660+pdf. The replacement bill will make it clear that after the "closed" period ends for vital records, these records should go to the Library of Virginia like any other archival records, ii) direct VDH to create an online vital records
index which is publicly available online through a contract with a private entity at no direct cost to the Commonwealth of Virginia, and iii) specify that the index will be capable of being linked to the underlying digital documents (if those are public) by the Library of Virginia.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

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