CSAC-Sponsored Bills Pertaining to Vital Records to be Heard in Assembly Health Next Week
CSAC’s Employee Relations policy unit is co-sponsoring two bills related to vital records, and both will be heard in the Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday, January 12. CSAC’s Government Finance and Operations Committee discussed the measures at its December 3 meeting.
AB 1238 (Linder) would authorize the State Registrar, a local registrar, or county recorder to accept electronic acknowledgement, sworn under penalty of perjury, that the requester of a marriage, birth, or death certificate is an authorized person. Existing law requires a notarized affidavit in hard copy, but AB 1238 would allow local jurisdictions to provide consumers with the option to complete an online request for vital records – something that 33 other states currently allow. Requestors would have to complete a knowledge-based authentication method to definitively establish their identity as an authorized person. This option will significantly reduce the amount of time it takes to request vital records, and will also reduce the costs incurred. Both consumers and records offices will benefit from the option to electronically request vital records.
AB 1546 (Olsen) would authorize a certified copy of a birth, death, or marriage record to include a security feature equal or greater than intaglio print. The bill also directs the State Registrar to appoint a Vital Records Protection Advisory Committee to study and make recommendations to protect individual privacy, inhibit identity theft, and prevent fraud involving vital records while providing needed access to the information contained in those records by persons seeking it for a legitimate purpose. While many states require a set of certain security measures for vital records, California is one of only two states that also require specific intaglio printing, which is a type of texture, raised engraving into the paper. In mid-2015, the only company in the United States that met the security requirements abruptly and permanently closed.
The state and counties have declining reserves of secure paper and limited options for purchasing additional supplies – many have rationed their provisions, while others refer applicants to the State Department of Public Health or have signed contracts with a Canadian company that meets the current standard. This bill will ensure that certified copies of vital records are available to all when needed, while maintaining high security standards.