Presentation on theme: "South Dakota’s Experience Closing Vital Records Kathlene A. Mueller, Administrator, Office of Data, Statistics and Vital Records State Registrar South."— Presentation transcript:
South Dakota’s Experience Closing Vital Records Kathlene A. Mueller, Administrator, Office of Data, Statistics and Vital Records State Registrar South Dakota
Why? Why did we pass this law? Balancing protection of identity and fraud prevention with access Migration of the vital records system from a system of family lineage to a system of identification. Complaints from constituents about the lack of regulations in place to protect the records. SD was one of 14 states with open birth records. National Intelligence Reform Act was being contemplated.
Legwork How did we go about it? Gathered sample language from other states. Reviewed the model and incorporated much of the applicable language. Drafted the law. Wrote letters to the South Dakota Genealogy Society asking for input and sharing the law. Wrote letters to the County Officials Assoc. and the Funeral Directors Assoc. asking for input and sharing the law. What did we miss?
Senate Bill 41 What it did in its original form. Limited access to certified copies of a vital records to those with a direct and tangible interest Self (Birth and Marriage) Current Spouse Parent Child Guardian Grandparent, Grandchild over 18 or sibling Funeral Director, attorney or physician Designated Agent
Senate Bill 41 What it did in its original form (cont.) Required all applicants to complete an application. Required applicants to provide ID or a notarized signature. Limited access to indexes to death and marriage indexes over 50 years old. There was no language in statute that discussed access to indexes. Limited release of information to a certified copy.
What was the reaction? SB 41 quickly became the target for genealogists and the press. It was the most talked about legislation of the session. After a few weeks it was clear that it would not make it out of committee.
Legislative Process What was removed/added through the legislative process Added - Informational copies - A plain copy paper of the record that could be issued to anyone. Contained the phrase “For Informational Purposes Only. Not for Legal Proof of Identity” and no seal or signature of the issuing agent. Added – Three day withholding period for certified copies. Removed – Open access to death and marriage indexes over 50 years old.
The After Session Storm DOH wrote the regulations. Presented them to the Genealogical Society. Genealogical Society realized that indexes were not available. Teamed up with the press who also realized the marriage indexes were no longer available for publication. SB41 again became the most talked about legislation.
The Negotiation The Bloody Ink Phenomenon Genealogists are a vocal minority MOU with the South Dakota Genealogical Society. Members were given access to marriage and death indexes at the local level. View the index, view the record at no charge. Required to pay fee if the sought a copy.
The Session After
What does the future hold Awaiting the National Intelligence Reform Act Regulations to negotiate changes. The public outside the press and the genealogists has very few complaints. We feel we have made strides toward a more secure Vital Records System.
What can you look forward to? Changing vital records law to limit access is very difficult. Don’t count on the general public to support your cause even a little bit. The genealogists can inflict a great deal of pain over a hobby. One-sided stories never make for good press.