25 February 2011

Two Bills Pending in Maine Regarding Vital Records Access!

There are two bills pending in Maine which effect access to vital records. The first bill LD 258, is sponsored by Rep. Deborah Sanderson of Chelsea, and amends LD 1781 [PL 601] which was passed last year and which closed Maine's vital records for 100 years. LD 258 "An Act Relating to Access to Vital Records" will have a public hearing before the Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services on Wednesday, March 2, at in room 209, Cross Office Building

A copy of the bill can be found at http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_125th/billtexts/HP021101.asp.  LD 258 was written by Maine Genealogical Society (MGS) vice-president Helen Shaw, CG, who is coordinating testimony for the public hearing. If you have any questions, please contact her at [email protected] or at 207-236-2468.

Testimony may be presented in person or can be submitted ahead of time by e-mail to the HHS Committee Clerk, Lisa Cote at: [email protected] OR via Snail Mail at: Committee on Health & Human Services, c/o Legislative Information, 100 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333.

There is another bill to amend the law, LD 388, which will be presented at the same time.

Each year several state legislatures try to restrict access to vital records due to concerns about privacy and identity theft.
NGS is a member of the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC) which works with the genealogical community in educating state legislators about the importance of access to vital records including tracing ones family health history. We also point out to legislators that most identity theft is caused by large electronic data bases being stolen, not by someone visiting a state or county vital records office.

Now is the time to spread the word to genealogists in Maine to come to the public hearing or send in testimony and to contact their representatives and senators to support this bill. If you live out-of-state but have researched your Maine ancestors in the vital records, your written testimony is encouraged.

For more information on RPAC visit http://www.fgs.org/rpac.

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