Re: Pending US federal legislation would cripple genealogical research #general

jan meisels allen <janmallen@...>

Dick Plotz shared an article talking on a draft of yet to be released
proposed regulations emanating >from the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism
Prevention Act of 2004 (S 2845 of 2004) about barring access to all
birth, marriage and death records in the US for up to 100 years.

The IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee (PRAMC), the FGS/NGS
Records Preservation and Access Committee, the Utah Genealogical Society
(Mormons) working together representing the genealogical community attempted
to get the provisions in the legislation in 2004 amended- unfortunately to
no avail. The final version did not address our request of permitting the
states to issue "genealogical copies" ( i.e. no state seal so the record
could not be used for identity except for the person named on the birth
record, the concern of the authors) OR to permit access to birth
records/certificates once 100 years elapsed >from the date of the creation
of the record/certificate. The final iteration of bill as enacted left it
to the Secretary of Health and Human Services to promulgate regulations
addressing the issue of minimum standards for use of birth certificates by
Federal agencies for official purposes.. To date NO regulations have been
published for review and comment. The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Act
(Public Laws of 2004 No: 108-458) *only* addresses access to birth records no
other records.

There have been governmental work groups around the country with early
drafts (some months ago) which addressed more than birth records etc. There
is no actual knowledge *at this time* that the proposed regulations when they
are published for review and comment (which *must* occur) before they are
finalized, includes vital records other than birth records. The impetus
behind this issue is to prevent terrorists >from obtaining birth records from
the states to use as US identification.

I have reported on this law on the JewishGen discussion Group since 2004
on the hearings on this bill, its enactment and the promise to alert the
Jewish Genners as soon as the proposed regulations are released-- I have
discussed the impact the law could have on genealogists if we are
unsuccessful in getting the presumed regulatory language amended through the
review and comment period at the 2005 IAJGS Conference at the Management
Seminar and at the President's Session. In addition the IAJGS ECHO September
2005 contains a write-up about this law .

At this time there is no actual knowledge if/when the regulations will be
published for review and comment. There has been some discussion that the
cost of what is being contemplated is so enormous that what is being planned
may have to be redesigned--again this is what is rumored, and may or may
not be accurate. The proposed regulations were due out December 2005.

When the actual proposed regulations are released a notice will be posted on
the JewishGen Discussion Group-and more information will be on the IAJGS
website-- this potentially effects the heart and soul of genealogy so all of
us need to be good citizens and respond appropriately.

In the meantime some states may act prior to the actual regulations being
known. If you learn of any state taking action in advance of the proposed
or final regulations please let me know. Some states may determine what "is
good for birth records, is good for marriage or death records" too-
exceeding the scope of the federal law- and we are *very* concerned about this
potential. Please be observant in your states and let me know if any
legislation is introduced in your state effecting access to birth, marriage
and death records.

Jan Meisels Allen, director,
IAJGS and chairperson, Public Records Access and Monitoring Committee
Subject: Pending US federal legislation would cripple genealogical research
From: Dick Plotz <Dick@...>
Date: Sun, 11 Jun 2006 18:43:31 -0400
X-Message-Number: 3

Proposed regulations stemming >from the Intelligence Reform and
Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 would bar virtually all access to
vital records in the US for up to 100 years. States would not be
"required" to operate according to these regulations, but residents of
states that didn't would be barred >from essential federal government
services, so in practice no state could refuse.

For further information, see the article "Information is Power,"
<>. I don't know
any more about this than it says in the article, so if you want to
know more, don't ask me.

Dick Plotz
Providence RI USA

Join to automatically receive all group messages.