Vermont Legislature Passes H-16 on Birth and Death Records

The following is a message posted to the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee’s mailing list by Jan Meisels Allen:

On June 25, 2018 the Vermont Senate and House concurred on the final version of H-16. It is en route to the governor who has until Saturday to sign the bill or it becomes law without his signature. The vital records provisions of the new law will become effective July 1, 2019.

Provisions of the law regarding vital records include:

Town clerks are required to permanently preserve birth and death certs issued before July 1, 2019. Birth and death certificates issued either before July 1, 2019 or after, are part of the State Registration system unless they were issued before 1909. The new “law” authorizes non-certified birth certificates. The “law” limits to whom a certified birth or death certificate may be given to: spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, or guardian; a person petitioning to open a decedent’s estate; a court-appointed executor or administrator For death certs it also has provisions for the funeral director etc. to obtain the record. It authorizes but  does not state who may obtain a non-certified certificate.  It does state that the State Registrar may prescribe procedures governing the inspection of birth and death certificates if necessary to protect the integrity of the certificates or to prevent fraud.

Other provisions are about amended or corrected birth/death certificates, removal of use of term “illegitimate”, etc. It also addresses adoptee birth certificates for those born outside the United States or in another state –it does not open the original birth certificates for adoptees.

While as originally introduced H-16 was only addressing birth and death records, along comes a special session to deal with the budget and H-16 is instead the primary bill to address the budget. There are 48 amendments since June 19 –and the vital records portion is at the end of this budget bill.

The final bill version includes the vital records portion: See Pages 143-153   Sec.I.318V.S.A.§ 5000(c)(2) (Note: §5000 was added last year (2017) and effective July 1,2018 which created the Statewide Registration System. To read about that law see the IAJGS Records Access Alert Archives.)

This is the official Senate version which posted its version that was accepted by the House  The second link includes the three amendments from the House that were approved by the Senate this morning

https://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018.1/Docs/Bills/H-0016/H-0016%20Senate%20proposal%20of%20amendment%20Official.pdf

https://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018.1/Docs/Bills/H-0016/H-0016%20House%20proposal%20of%20amendment%20to%20Senate%20proposal%20of%20amendment%20Official.pdf

This article appeared this morning so it would not contain today’s agreement: https://www.vermontbiz.com/news/2018/june/25/tentative-budget-deal-could-fail-last-minute-changes

For those who want to access the IAJGS Records Access Archives to access any of the archived postings go to: http://lists.iajgs.org/mailman/private/records-access-alerts.  You must be registered to access the archives. To register for the IAJGS Records Access Alert go to: http://lists.iajgs.org/mailman/listinfo/records-access-alerts.  You will receive an email response that you have to reply to or the subscription will not be finalized. It is required to include your organization affiliation (genealogy organization, etc.)

Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

2 Comments

Vermont law concerning adoptee’s access to their original birth certificate can be found in Title 15a, Section § 6-107: https://legislature.vermont.gov/statutes/section/15A/006/00107. Access is tied to whether the adoptee has access to identifying information under Title 15a. Unless there is non-consent on file from the birthparent, they do have access at age 18.

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Dick, thanks for all the work you do. It was great to see you at Grand Rapids, Michigan. Susi Pentico , an Eastman cousin.

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