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Bill Process

MGC opposes H2064

Massachusetts Genealogical Council
P.O. Box 5393, Cochituate, MA 01778-5393

March 5, 2010

Hon. Charles A. Murphy

Chair, House Ways and Means Committee

State House, Room 237

Boston, MA 02133

Fax 617-722-2998



In Opposition to House Bill 2064


Dear Mr. Murphy,


On behalf of our 32,000 stakeholders who are members of our twenty-two member societies, we direct your attention to fundamental flaws in bill H-2064, currently in the House Ways and Means Committee. The bill concerns vital records registration, computerization, security, and access. Enacting this bill would badly serve the voters of the Commonwealth.


H2064 flies in the face of M.G.L. Chapter 17, Section 4, which established a Special Vital Records and Statistics Committee. That committee has the responsibility to oversee and approve proposed administrative procedures and regulations. The issues H2064 erroneously and redundantly addresses in Chapter 46 are:


Effect of H2064:

Why this is moot:

The use of security paper.

The registrar already has the administrative ability to define what paper and forms are used by the town clerks.

The design of a computer system.

A computer system design by law must be approved by the Standing Committee defined in Chapter 17, Section 4 rather than by the legislature.

The ability to involve investigators (H2064 does not identify the investigators) in cases of suspected fraud.

The registrar already has this ability by Chapter 17, Section 4. Moreover, in this regard, H2064 eliminates the ability of wronged parties to obtain a probate court order for records access, a due process concern used for every other records closure section in Chapter 46.


H2064 does do something helpful by replacing a few confusing references to positions of the secretary of state and the commissioner of public health with the position of registrar of vital records. The bill, however, is both unnecessary and an end run around an existing structure for oversight. That Standing Committee includes town clerks, genealogists, historians, public health researchers, and other stakeholders.

We ask the House Ways and Means Committee Members to act for the better of the Commonwealth in this issue. If you believe, as we do, that the executive branch of state government should operate with the checks and balances already in place in M.G.L., then you will ensure that this bill does not move forward.


We look forward to working with your office and with the Massachusetts Town Clerks Association on these issues in the future. We would be happy to meet with you in person to explain our concerns in greater detail.


Sincerely yours,


Barbara J. Mathews, CG

President of MGC