Friday, February 18, 2011

Posted by Jan Meisels Allen

Hearings have been set for two Maine bills which you may find of interest as they effect access to vital records. Both bills are set for their initial hearings before the Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services March 2, 10:00AM Room 209, Cross Office Building, Augusta, Maine.

LD 258/HP 0211
Previously, it was reported on this forum about Maine LD 258 http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_125th/billpdfs/HP021101.pdf.
which attempts to undue some of the burdensome provisions enacted during the last legislative session.
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 any time, 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 and registrations of domestic partnerships created after 1893; and
· deletes the requirement that genealogical researchers must annually obtain a research card (currently $50 per year).

LD 388/HP0314
http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_125th/billpdfs/HP031401.pdf

Includes "or a personal representative designated in that person's will" as someone who can get a death certificate. It also would amend the provision regarding genealogists being required to obtain research card, by reducing the fee from $50 annually to $25 every two years. The genealogist would be required to belong to a genealogy society or organization (the bill is silent as to whether membership in any genealogy society would meet the criteria). This provision of belonging to a genealogy society was included in last year's bill now law PL 601 Maine Statutes of 2010.

There is a possibility that the two bills may be combined during the
hearing.

When more information is available including the IAJGS statement it will be posted to the IAJGS Legislative Alert on the IAJGS website and a notice of the update will be posted to this forum.

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

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