20 January 2011

PaHR-Access Update: Senator Robbins is Reintroducing his Bill

Pennsylvania State Senator Robert Robbins is currently circulating his vital records for cosponsors. Once he gathers more cosponsors in the next few weeks the bill will be introduced and a number assigned. So far (fifteen) State Senators Alloway, Baker, Dinneman, Eichelberger, Erickson, Folmer, Fontana, Gordner, Kasunic, Mensch, Piccola, Pileggi, Rafferty, Tartaglione and Yaw are cosponsors. We ask for your help in getting the other state senators to become cosponsors of this bill. A visit, phone call or email to their offices should help. Here is the list of the senators (click on the senator's name for contact information): http://www.legis.state.pa.us/

It is basically the same bill (with some minor alterations) Senator Robbins introduced in the last session of the Pennsylvania General Assembly 2009-2010. It calls for birth records more than 100 years old and death records more than 50 years old to become open records and available to the public at large. The bill also requires the records be maintained by the Pennsylvania State Archives once they become open records.

Although his bill does not require they be made available online it is an absolutely necessary step that makes it possible for them to be made available online. Because of the expense of digitizing and data extraction it is our hope the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will then be able to engage an outside party to take on the expense and do the work such as the Genealogy Society of Utah which has already done the same thing for numerous other states.

Now that Tom Corbett is the Governor of Pennsylvania be sure to send him a message of support for this effort. He will not know unless we all tell him about it.

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