Michigan Genealogical Council
Michigan Genealogical Council

Legislative Items of interest

The Genealogists’ Declaration of Rights is a statement advocating open access to federal, state, and local public records. The Declaration affirms America’s long history of open public records, which has been threatened the last few years over concerns about identity theft and privacy. The Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC) has worked with state and federal legislators as well as local public officials for more than twenty years in support of legislation and regulations that achieve a balance between access and privacy. The Declaration of Rights has been unanimously approved by the board of directors of the three sponsoring organizations: The National Genealogical Society (NGS), the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), and the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS). The Declaration of Rights is a document RPAC plans to use in response to both state and federal legislation that would restrict access to public records. The Declaration will be presented together with a specific statement about the proposed law or regulation.

Genealogical Societies are encouraged to display the Declaration of Rights at local and regional conferences. The one page Declaration can be enlarged and displayed on a poster board. We encourage you to obtain original signatures of society members including the date signed, signature, printed name, and city and state of residence. When your conference is over, please send the original signatures to the Michigan Genealogical Council, PO Box 80953, Lansing, MI 48908-0953. These original signatures can be used by your state genealogical society to promote open access to vital records in your state. We will then provide copies to Jan Alpert, the RPAC chair for addressing issues at the federal level.

Below is sample text to use in your meeting and conference promotional material. Like any petition, we ask that you only sign once and use a separate page for each state. The Genealogists’ Declaration of Rights and signature pages are available to download on the MGC website.

The Genealogists’ Declaration of Rights will be available for you to sign at ___________. If you have friends who are not attending the _________________, encourage them to sign online at http://bit.ly/gen-declaration.

From the American Thinker on December 20, Congress is Plugging the Wrong Hole.


from the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC) blog on the Federation of Genealogical Societies website written by FredMoss | Dec. 18, 2013

This afternoon senators voted 64 to 36 to approve the bipartisan budget agreement. Section 203 restricts access to the Death Master File (DMF) to certified individuals under a new program established under the Department of Commerce.

From The Washington Post Senate passes bipartisan budget agreement.

This section also establishes a new user fee to cover the cost of certification that is projected to raise $517 million over 10 years.

RPAC will be outlining the approach we will be recommending that the genealogical community take in participating in the process Commerce is expected to take in developing this new program.

Much more to come. Stay tuned.