Friday, April 6, 2012

Updated IAJGS Legislative Alert--Includes Information on SSDI, Kentucky, Maine and Virginia

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

An updated IAJGS Legislative Alert has been posted to the IAJGS website:
www.iajgs.org and click on left hand green button "Legislation" then on latest alert.

The alert contains information on the IAJGS statement for the record for the US Senate Finance Committee Subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth regarding our position on maintaining public access to the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). On page one go to the first topic under the "red box " entitled: Genealogical Community Under Attack: Potential Loss of Access to Social Security Death Index (SSDI). There is also information regarding the membership of the Subcommittee.

The genealogical community leadership as represented by the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC) of which IAJGS is one of the voting members--along with FGS and NGS, decided that it was time to be pragmatic and start negotiating. We know from the House Subcommittee hearing on February 2nd that they and the Administration wanted no public access or as Social Security Administrator Astrue said in his House testimony genealogists could wait 75 years...while Senator Nelson's bill had a two
year wait (the year of death and the following year when people submit their
tax returns). This is a much more reasonable approach even though we strongly believe there should be immediate public access-and genealogists are not the cause of identity theft. It is obvious that the identity theft issue makes good politics in an election year, and we-the genealogical leadership--FGS, IAJGS and NGS decided after much consultation between ourselves and talking with others that we would support the 2 year compromise with the caveat that certain genealogists would be eligible for certification for immediate access- such as forensic genealogists, heir
researchers etc. The RPAC statement on this position is posted at www.fgs.org/rpac.

Other updates in this Legislative Alert dated March 28 include updates on legislation that have been signed into law for Maine (LD 1627)regarding marriage applications, and Virginia (SB660) reducing the wait period for marriage, divorce and death records and more, and amended legislation still in committee, Kentucky SB 54 regarding access to records and establishing a waiting period of 70 years for marriage records. For these updates scroll down to the state alphabetically in the report.

As we learn more about the SSDI issue, and as other legislative actions are taken on access to vital records the legislative alert will be updated and reported on this forum.

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

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