Seattle Genealogical Society Vital Records Closure

 January 29, 2019

Members and Friends of Seattle Genealogical Society,

It has been brought to our attention by Virginia Majewski, President of Washington State Genealogical Society, as well as friends of SGS, Mary Kathryn Kozy, and Cyndi Ingle, that the Washington State Dept of Health is proposing changes to Vital Records access in our state that will adversely effect genealogists.  This bill is scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Law and Justice Committee on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019 at 10 am. 

This proposal will : 
Place restrictions on release of records to the public
Place restrictions on who can request certified copies of documents
Place restrictions on information included on the documents 
WASGS has taken the position in bullet points below. It helps clarify what effect the proposed changes might have on you as a genealogist:
Vital Records are the backbone of our profession and hobby.
Access to these records is essential to our work and embargo periods to records are unnecessarily restrictive.
We support keeping all Vital Records open.
Access to vital records has not been demonstrated to increase the risk of identity theft.
We believe that keeping birth, marriage, divorce and death records open does more to prevent identity theft.
Keeping the cause of death on Informational Death Records is essential to genetic and forensic genealogists.
We support proposed changes to cover the cost for providing access to Vital Records.
Redaction of Social Security numbers on an Informational Copies of Vital Records is supported.
You may read the bill in its entirety here:  
https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=5332&year-2019&Initiative=False

You may read the WASGS blog on the subject here: 
http://wasgs.org/blog/2019/01/26/closing-access-to-washington-vital-records/
If you want to contact the members of the committee and let them know how crucial access to these records (and their indexes) are to us as genealogists, you can write them here:
Chairman: Pederson, Jamie (D) Jamie.Pedersen@leg.wa.gov
Vice chair: Dhingra, Manka (D) Manka.Dhingra@leg.wa.gov
Ranking member: Padden, Mike (R) Mike.Padden@leg.wa.gov
Holy, Jeff (R) Jeff.Holy@leg.wa.gov
Kuderer, Patty (D) Patty.Kuderer@leg.wa.gov
Salomon, Jesse (D) Jesse.Salomon@leg.wa.gov
Wilson, Lynda (R) Lynda.Wilson@leg.wa.gov
Staff Coordinator: Ford, Tim tim.ford@leg.wa.gov
Please submit your comments before Thursday!

Thank you for your time, 

Seattle Genealogical Society 

One comment on “Seattle Genealogical Society Vital Records Closure

  1. Judy says:

    Did I read something about not being able to get some vital records for until 100 years has passed? Whoa! I used your bullet points and spent my lunch hour today writing to all those Senators (using their email form).

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