New Jersey Vital Records Bill

New Jersey has introduced legislation pertaining to access to vital records. Bill A326 “establishes guidelines for dissemination of vital records,” and can be found at:

http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/bills/BillView.asp?BillNumber=A326

It keeps the same guidelines for genealogical (non-certified) copies: available 80 years after a birth, 50 years after a marriage, and 40 years after a death.

However, Section 2 states, “Vital records shall not be deemed to be a public or government record pursuant to P.L.1963, c.73 (C.47:1A-1 et seq.) or P.L.2001, c.404 (C.47:1A-5 et seq.).”

Further, Section 5 states, “A person or entity that uses, transfers, sells, shares or otherwise discloses any information as described in subsection b. of section 3 of this act in a manner that is not authorized under the provisions of this act or any other law shall be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree and shall thereafter be prohibited from making application to obtain any such information pursuant to this act.” It is unclear what would be the implications would be to genealogists using or sharing vital records.

Bill A326 is sponsored by Assemblywoman Joan M. Quigley (District 32, Bergen and Hudson) and Assemblywoman Nellie Pou (District 35, Bergen and Passaic); it is co-sponsored by Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle.

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One thought on “New Jersey Vital Records Bill

  1. The RPAC website states: “[This bill] keeps the same guidelines for genealogical (non-certified) copies: available 80 years after a birth, 50 years after a marriage, and 40 years after a death.”
    However, I believe that the most recent version of this bill (Second Reprint as amended by the General Assembly on March 13, 2008) makes the guidelines more restrictive. The current version of A326 on the NJ legislative website, talks about 100 years after a birth.
    Further, the RPAC website states that the implications of A326 on genealogists are yet unclear. My interpretation of the current A326 document does show some potenial impact already. This bill:
    1) Will require prior approval by the State Registrar to inspect records, and
    2) Proposes only visual inspection of a records and will prohibit the copying of documents
    From what I understand, the purpose of A326 is to help prevent identity theft as it pertains to Homeland Security. But, there are other means of obtaining the information necessary to steal identities. On the other hand, the A326 restrictions do add new hurdles for genealogists.
    It seems that A326 is now on a fast track in the NJ legislature. We need to quickly understand the impact on genealogical work in New Jersey.

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