Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pennsylvania SB 361 Scheduled for a vote in House Health Committee November 15

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

I have previously written about Pennsylvania SB 361 which would open access to birth and death records after 105 and 50 years respectively. After that time period the records would be kept by the state archives. The bill passed the Senate unanimously and is scheduled to have its first hearing in the House Health Committee on November 15.

For those who do research in Pennsylvania this bill would enable the public to access birth and death records after a specified time (see above) making access to records easier. Currently, Pennsylvania birth and death records are restricted and a limitation is placed on whom may access them--genealogists are not included. The state began requiring birth and death records in 1906. Information is from http://users.rcn.com/timarg/PaHR-Access-statesall.htm .
Marriage records are kept by the individual counties, therefore, are not included in this bill.
It won't be the first time a bill was passed by one body unanimously only to have it die in committee in the other.

IAJGS sent letters to each member of the House Health Committee in early October asking them to hold a hearing and pass the bill. To read the bill go to:
http://tinyurl.com/5sbcotq
original url:
http://www.legis.state.pa.us/CFDOCS/Legis/PN/Public/btCheck.cfm?txtType=PDF&sessYr=2011&sessInd=0&billBody=S&billTyp=B&billNbr=0361&pn=1598

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

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