Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Maine Vital Records

Posted by Jan Meisels Allen

A group of Maine genealogists have been working with Maine legislators to have legislation amend the law enacted in 2010 PL 601 which changed Maine from an "open access" state for accessing vital records to one that permitted anyone to have access after 100 years, and permitted genealogical researchers to have access to non-certified copies if they obtained a researcher card annually --current charge $50. The law became effective July 1, 2010 and the rule making process is still in the legal review phase without yet having the public review and comment.

The new bill, LD 258 also known as HP0211, was introduced and assigned to the Maine House Health and Human Services Committee. No hearings have yet been scheduled. The new bill as currently drafted requires:
  • records custodians to permit inspection of records, issuing of certified or informational copies of vital records;
  • deletes the provision prohibiting the public from obtaining details within vital records;
  • adds to the existing list of those who may obtain records at anytime, collateral descendants, grandparents, genealogists;
  • deletes the 100 year rule for anyone to obtain records and instead states anyone may inspect, transcribe or abstract birth certificates, fetal death certificates, death certificates, marriage certificates andregistrations of domestic partnerships created after 1893; and
  • deletes the requirement that genealogical researchers must annually obtain a research card (currently $50 per year).
As with any legislation amendments will be made. To read the current draft, please click here. Language that is being added is underlined; language that is being deleted is crossed out.

As more information becomes available, it will be made available on this forum.

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