Senate Ways & Means Schedules Public Hearing on Closing Vital Records SB 5332

There will be a public hearing on Senate bill 5332 February 19 at 3:30 pm

Members of Senate Ways & Means Committee

SenatorRoomPhone
Rolfes, Christine (D)
Chair
303 John A. Cherberg Building(360) 786-7644
Frockt, David (D)
Vice Chair, Operating, Capital Lead
224 John A. Cherberg Building(360) 786-7690
Mullet, Mark (D)
Capital Budget Cabinet
415 Legislative Building(360) 786-7608
Braun, John (R)
Ranking Member
403A Legislative Building(360) 786-7638
Brown, Sharon (R)
Assistant Ranking Member, Operating
202 Irv Newhouse Building(360) 786-7614
Honeyford, Jim (R)
Assistant Ranking Member, Capital
112 Irv Newhouse Building(360) 786-7684
Bailey, Barbara (R)203 Irv Newhouse Building(360) 786-7618
Becker, Randi (R)316 Legislative Building(360) 786-7602
Billig, Andy (D)307 Legislative Building(360) 786-7604
Carlyle, Reuven (D)233 John A. Cherberg Building(360) 786-7670
Conway, Steve (D)241 John A. Cherberg Building(360) 786-7656
Darneille, Jeannie (D)237 John A. Cherberg Building(360) 786-7652
Hasegawa, Bob (D)223 John A. Cherberg Building(360) 786-7616
Hunt, Sam (D)405 Legislative Building(360) 786-7642
Keiser, Karen (D)219 John A. Cherberg Building(360) 786-7664
Liias, Marko (D)309 Legislative Building(360) 786-7640
Palumbo, Guy (D)402 Legislative Building(360) 786-7600
Pedersen, Jamie (D)235 John A. Cherberg Building(360) 786-7628
Rivers, Ann (R)204 Irv Newhouse Building(360) 786-7634
Schoesler, Mark (R)314 Legislative Building(360) 786-7620
Van De Wege, Kevin (D)212 John A. Cherberg Building(360) 786-7646
Wagoner, Keith (R)109A Irv Newhouse Building(360) 786-7676
Warnick, Judy (R)103 Irv Newhouse Building(360) 786-7624
Wilson, Lynda (R)110 Irv Newhouse Building(360) 786-7632

Substitute Bill 5332 On Closing Vital Records

On February 7, 2019 The Senate Law and Justice Committee offered up this substitute bill: Click Here for the whole bill.

The substitute bill still locks birth records for 100 years, and death, marriage and divorce records for 25 years. Informational death certificates will NOT have a cause of death.

Certified copies will be $25, informational copies will be $13. Multiple copies have their own costs.

In the hearing today they asked if genealogists approve of the changes in the substitute bill. It was then voted on and the 4 democrats voted yes, and the 3 republicans voted no. Minority position to not support the bill. There is no date set yet for the full senate to vote on the substitute bill, so contact your senator to let hem know if you agree with the substitute bill or to vote against the substitute bill. Click here to send your thoughts to your senator.

Closing of Washington Vital Records House Bill 1550

The companion bill to the Senate Bill 5332 on closing vital records is House Bill # 1550. The house has had the first reading of that bill and it does not have a scheduled date for public hearing. If you hit on comments and fill in your address it will bring up your representative and you can send him a comment on the bill.

House Bill 1550

Health Care and Wellness Committee members. I did not find their E-Mails, Sorry

Cody, Eileen (D) Chair 303 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7978
Macri, Nicole (D) V Chair311 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7826
Schmick, Joe (R)Minority Member 426B Legislative Building (360) 786-7844
Caldier, Michelle(R)AsstMinority Member122H Legislative Building(360) 786-7802
Chambers, Kelly (R) 426 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7948
Davis, Lauren (D) 369 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7910
DeBolt, Richard (R) 425A Legislative Building (360) 786-7896
Harris, Paul (R) 426A Legislative Building (360) 786-7976
Jinkins, Laurie (D) 320 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7930
Maycumber, Jacquelin (R)425B Legislative Building (360) 786-7908
Riccelli, Marcus (D) 434A Legislative Building (360) 786-7888
Robinson, June (D) 332 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7864
Stonier, Monica Jurado(D)331 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7872
Thai, My-Linh (D) 424 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7926
Tharinger, Steve (D) 314 John L. O’Brien Building (360) 786-7904

Followup to Closing Washington Vital Records

First I want to thank everyone that had responded to the blog post last week that told of the proposed bill from the Washington State Health Department to close Washington state birth records for 100 years, and death, marriage and divorce records for 50 years. January 31st was the public hearing in the Washington State Senate Law and Justice Committee, here is the link to the bill number 5332 It also has a schedule for the next round which is the executive meeting for the committee where they can decide to amend the, kill the bill or pass it on to the full senate for a vote. The link above gives the times of the next hearing and a link to where you can watch the hearing either on TVW a on a Washington cable tv or the link to the live streaming of the hearing.

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

The main reason the Health Department gave for locking up the records is identity theft, which has been proven does not happen from vital records being open. In the hearing five people spoke in favor of the bill since they would receive $3 more for each certified birth and death certificate they issued and all five said that they were loosing money issuing those certificates at $20 and so the extra $3 would be very welcome. Washington State Genealogical Society spoke on leaving the records open and if closed to make sure the informational copies of death certificates will have the cause of death. The health department said many people had asked that the cause of death not be shown on informational copies. The health department also said they were going to keep the indexes open and continue to send copies to the state archives to post online. Last person to testify was a lobbyist for the newspapers and he said that they usually did not use death certificates for cause of deaths that they would cover in a newspaper. If they covered a death they went right to the coroner or medical examiner for the cause of death. He also said if the cause of death was from cancer or some other hereditary disease that the cause of death should be on informational copies.

Notice not one person testifying said anything about how this proposed bill is needed to stop identity theft or how it is supposed to stop identity theft that comes from other sources.

The original blog post had 798 page views from I think every state in the United States, and 425 cities. One from Dublin Ireland and Melbourne Australia. We had 604 referrals from Facebook. On January 29th we had 313 page views on this one blog post. More than we usually get in a whole week on all our blog posts.

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 

Closing Access to Washington Vital Records

This is an ALERT to proposed changes to access to Vital Records

in the State of Washington, SB 5332-2019-20.

Currently, Washington is an open records state. Change has been proposed by the Dept. of Health to restrict access to Vital Records in our state. DOH is proposing changes based on a “best practices” in vital records control and recommendations from the Federal Government, citing privacy concerns and identity theft. These changes will affect all genealogists!

Here is a brief summary of the proposed changes:

Placing restrictions on release of records to the public:

  • 100 years for live birth and fetal death
  • 50 years for death, marriage, divorce, annulment, legal separation and dissolution of domestic partnerships

Placing restrictions on who certified copies of Vital Records (birth, death, marriage, and divorce) may be released to:

  • Birth Certificates will only be released to the “subject of the record” (yourself), the subject’s spouse or domestic partner, child, parent, step-parent, sibling, grandparent, legal guardian, legal representative or authorized representative before the 100 year embargo.
  • Death Certificates will be released to the decedent’s spouse or domestic partner, child, parent, step-parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, legal guardian immediately prior to death, legal representative, authorized representative or next of kin as specified in RCW 11.28.120 before the 50 year embargo.
  • Certificate of Fetal Death will be released to a parent, a parent’s legal representative, an authorized representative, sibling or a grandparent before the 100 year embargo.

New Provisions:

  • The State may issue an informational copy to a vital record to anyone. Informational copies must contain only the information “allowed by rule”.
  • Informational death copies will not include information related to the cause of death and manner of death.
  • “Authorized representative” will include genealogists. This will require a notarized letter of permission from next of kin and personal identification.
  • Applicants will be required to provide identification and proof of relationship to obtain certified copies of vital records.

WSGS has been working with the Records Preservation and Access Committee of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, the National Genealogical Society and the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies on this issue.

WSGS has taken the position that:

  • 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.

We are asking all of you to please contact your local Senator, the members of the Senate Law and Justice Committee and the sponsors of the bill; Sen. Jamie Pederson, Sen. Ann Rivers, Sen. Claire Wilson, Sen. Maureen Walsh, Sen. Emily Randall, Sen. Annette Cleveland and Sen. Marko Liias. This bill is scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Law and Justice Committee on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019 at 10am. Please submit your comments before Thursday!

Senate Law & Justice Committee: Sen. Jamie Pederson Sen. Manka Dhingra Sen. Mike Padden Sen. Jeff Holy Sen. Patty Kuderer Sen. Jessie Salomon Sen. Lynda Wilson

The proposed changes to the Vital Records Initiative, SB 5332 – 2019 – 20, can be read in its entirety at the link below. You can use this link to access a copy of the bill and/or make comments. Watch on TVW.

Thank you for your attention. Sincerely,

Virginia Majewski, President, Washington State Genealogical Society

Washington State Archives Archives Month 2018

Good morning!

October is Archives Month and the theme is “Activism in the Archives.”

If you would like some free Archives Month posters (shown with the second event below) to hang at your institution, please e-mail us.

The Archives is hosting a number of free events throughout the state during October (and one in September). Join us for one of these great events:

Basics of Historical Research

September 29th
Learn the basic steps for gathering the information you need to investigate and interpret an historical topic.
Location: Kitsap Regional Library, Poulsbo

Registration and more info

Archives Month Special: Preserving Large Items

October 6th
Learn how to preserve outsize items such as maps, posters, and newspapers. There will also be a guest speaker from the UW Library’s special collections.
Location: Olympia Archives Building

Registration and more info

History Day for Teachers

October 6th
Learn about History Day, a project-focused, inquiry-based learning program that develops reading, research, and analysis skills.
Location: Digital Archives Building, Cheney

Registration and more info

Ellensburg Archives and Museums Crawl

October 6th
A tour of archives, museums, libraries, genealogical societies, and other repositories in Ellensburg.
Location: Shuttle boards at Brooks Library, CWU

Registration and more info

History Happy Hour

October 10th
A fun night of trivia highlighting Legacy Washington’s 1968 exhibit and Olympia in 1968 (starts at 6 p.m.; food and beverage priced by the restaurant).
Location: 3 Magnets Brewery, Olympia

More info (no registration required)

Digital Research — Tips, Tricks, and Resources

October 13th
Eastern Regional Branch Archivist Lee Pierce will be at Whitman County Genealogical Society’s fall seminar, speaking about the Digital Archives.
Location: Bishop Place Social Room, Pullman

More info (no registration required)

Archives Month Trivia Night: Activism and the ’60s

October 21st
The Northwest Branch’s second annual trivia night will put the spotlight on the Archives Month theme. Come for the history, stay for the beer! (Starts at 6:30 p.m.; food and beverage priced by the restaurant.)
Location: Archer Ale House, Bellingham

More info (no registration required)

Haunted Tour of the Archives

October 26th
The Haunted Tour takes you into the dark stacks underground at the Archives where grim tales and fright await.
Location: Olympia Archives Building

Registration is not yet open. Look out for the October newsletter (subscribe here if you haven’t already) for more info.

Frenchtown Rendezvous

The upcoming Frenchtown Rendezvous, this October 6, 2018, in Walla Walla, WA. 
 
This is a great event for anyone who is interested in the history of Eastern Washington. Our program this year is of particular interest to archaeologists and geneaologists. It features a workshop on writing and publishing family history led by Christina Dubois, retired editor of Columbia Magazine of the Washington State Historical Society, and a presentation by historical archaeologist Maryanne Maddoux about the ongoing digitization of the Harriet D. Munnick Papers by the St. Paul Mission Historical Society, and her experiences as lab manager at the field school excavation of a French-Canadian homestead at Champoeg, OR. 
 
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. We’d love to see you there!
 
 
Sarah Hurlburt
Secretary, Frenchtown Historical Foundation