Unfortunately, the measure passed 21-16 in the Senate. Governor Davis signed SB 1614 on September 19, 2002 (Chapter 712). The perception was that the need for genealogists to have access to various records, when put side by side against public safety, the public safety was more important; that although tracing family roots is now more difficult, it will not make it impossible. Let's hope that SB 1614 will enable us to gain protection against identity theft. DEA 9-26-2002.
The following article is from Eastmanís Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright 2002 by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author.
The response from that appeal was overwhelming, and the bill was put on hold at that time. Now some legislators are going to try again. This time they are moving on very short notice, perhaps in an effort to "sneak it through" before the opposing groups notice.
The bill has been changed, so you may want to read it again. Genealogists are specifically targeted in the bill as we are not included in the list of people who can now have access, although even private investigators can see the records.
The following alert is from Iris Carter Jones, California State Genealogical Alliance Legislative Coordinator
URGENT ACTION NEEDED IN
SB1614 was passed by the
California Senate and will now be heard by the California State Assembly
Judiciary Committee on MONDAY, JULY 1st. This bill is trying to zip through
under the radar, and must be derailed NOW. Please call, fax, and e-mail ALL
MEMBERS OF THE CALIFORNIA STATE ASSEMBLY JUDICIARY COMMITTEE TODAY and urge a
DO NOT PASS vote on SB1614. Fax and e-mail should be sent by FRIDAY, JUNE 28th.
The bill, sponsored by Senator Jackie Speier, seeks
SB1614 would foster secrecy in government. Citizens would no longer be able to access government-held, public information on their own histories and identities. This bill would create a right of confidentiality that has never before existed. The birth and death indexes are not and have never been personally owned, confidential information; they are and have always been public records. SB1614 seeks to reverse a century-long free flow of public information by placing the use of both indexes back under strict government regulation.
The birth and death indices are used extensively for genealogical and historical research, population studies, public health queries and public policy research. SB1614 will do little to help the problem it was intended to address - identity theft. According to the First Amendment Coalition, most identity theft occurs through the literal theft of mail, purses, and wallets by friends, relatives, neighbors, and strangers - not through use of the birth and death indices.
SUMMARY OF SB1614
1. This bill would remove the comprehensive birth and death indices from protection of the California Public Records Act. Instead, it would make the indices confidential information - except to government agencies.
This bill would prohibit a government agency from selling or
releasing these indices. This bill would also prohibit specified businesses and
individuals, who legally purchased the indices from the State prior to
3. This bill would require the State Registrar to establish a separate, NON comprehensive electronic birth and death indices, available for public inspection at county recorders' offices statewide and at the office of the State Registrar. The information to be included in the non comprehensive indices will be determined by the State Registrar. No printing will be allowed at these special computer terminals. Individuals who wish to view the non comprehensive birth or death index must certify, UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY, that the information they view will not be used for criminal purposes.
4. This bill would permit the release of SPECIFIED personal information to financial institutions and consumer credit reporting agencies, for the sole purpose of determining if the person whose information is being released is still living.
Please share this information with any lists you are on.
* * * CONTACT INFORMATION * * *
Send one copy of your letter to the Judiciary Committee and one to each committee member.
Assembly Judiciary Committee
1020 N Street, Room 104
Fax: (916) 319-2188
Ellen M. Corbett (Chair)
Phone: (916) 319-2018
Fax: (916) 319-2118
Tom Harman (Vice-Chair)
State Capitol, Room 5158
Phone: (916) 319-2067
Fax: (916) 319-2167
Phone: (916) 319-2073
Fax: (916) 319-2173
Phone: (916) 319-2060
Fax: (916) 319-2160
Phone: (916) 319-2064
Fax: (916) 319-2164
Phone: (916) 319-2020
Fax: (916) 319-2120
Phone: (916) 319-2035
Fax: (916) 319-2135
Phone: (916) 319 -2078
Fax: (916) 319 - 2178
Phone: (916) 319-2009
Fax: (916) 319-2109
Phone: (916) 319-2062
Fax: (916) 319-2162
Phone: (916) 319-2079
Fax: (916) 319-2179
Phone: (916) 319-2012
Fax: (916) 319-2112
Also send a copy of your Assembly Judiciary Committee letter to these three additional addresses: