Update on Washington State Access to Vital Records

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

Last month we learned  the disturbing news that the Washington State Department of Health  was planning on proposing to reduce access to vital records requiring 125 years for birth, 50 years for marriage, death and divorce. The Washington State Public Records Committee meeting was scheduled December 5 to hear the request.
 This was met with great concern across the genealogical community and a lot of publicity ensued.  We have been advised that the Department of Health is backing away from their original plans to offer legislation on access to vital records in the upcoming legislative session--however, future legislative plans are unclear.  In addition we have been advised that the Department of Health will be transferring the vital records that under current law are required to be housed in the State Archives--for preservation and access.  The State Archives will have to digitize these records.  When we know more about which years and accessing them it will be reported on this forum.
Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

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