Legislative Update on New Jersey and Rhode Island #general
jan meisels allen <janmallen@...>
Dear Jewish Genners:
This is an informational update on New Jersey and Rhode Island pending
legislation that if enacted would severely limit access to vital records
(birth, marriage and death records).
The IAJGS Public Records Monitoring and Access Committee monitors
legislation that impacts access to vital genealogical records (birth,
marriage, death) and census. In that vein I am alerting you to several
bills recently introduced in Rhode Island that *may* impact access to vital
records and update on the pending legislation AB 1390 in New Jersey which
would remove vital records (birth, marriage, domestic partnership and death
records) >from the definition of public records, thereby making access to
such records very difficult, if not impossible.
New Jersey A 1390 has not yet had the second reading on the Assembly floor
due to the great response >from the genealogical community in contacting
their New Jersey legislators, the sponsors of the bill *and* the Speaker of
the Assembly who controls when the bill will be heard. Thank you for all
you have done so far!
The main sponsor, Assemblywoman Quigley has responded
to many who wrote to her and has promised to amend the bill- however, we
have not yet seen the language. It appears as if the earliest the bill can
be heard on the Assembly floor for second reading is March 16, however, it
may not be heard until May as there will only be budget bills heard in
April. This means there is still time to contact the legislators, the
sponsors and speaker, to remind them of our concerns until the
bill is actually amended to address our concerns.
Rhode Island H6951, H6952 S2268 and S 2270 have been introduced, and
assigned to the respective Judiciary Committees but to date there are no
hearings scheduled. We are not certain if the sponsors' intent is to include
vital records in removing certain records and information from
being deemed public records, therefore, we need to let the legislators,
sponsors and Judiciary chairmen know of our concerns and amend the bills to
make certain that vital records are included in the definition of public
An update on legislation affecting access to vital records in New Jersey and
Rhode Island has been posted to the IAJGS website. IAJGS has prepared model
letters for people to write to the bills sponsors and their state
legislators about accessing vital records and genealogical copies of vital
records. You can access this and more information on the bills, including
how to find your legislator and the addresses of the legislators on the
IAJGS website, www.IAJGS.org, go to the middle of the page click on
either the "newspaper boy extra" icon or
where it says "For the latest on pending legislation, click *here*".
The New Jersey and Rhode Island bills cited above are PDF files, therefore,
to read them it is necessary to install Adobe Acrobat Reader on your
computer which is available for free by accessing the site at:
If you have any questions about the above, please contact me.
Jan Meisels Allen, director IAJGS and
Chairperson, Public Records Access and Monitoring Committee