HBA-MPM H.B. 836 76(R)BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 836 By: King, Tracy Public Health 6/15/1999 Enrolled BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Records in Texas are sealed 50 years after the date of a person's birth and 25 years after a person's death. Because indexes to these records are not addressed directly in the Government Code, many county clerks seal the indexes along with the actual records. This causes problems for genealogists and people searching for relatives. Additionally, many county clerks have expressed confusion as to whether or not they should seal the indexes with the records. H.B. 836 allows the indexes to be open to the public while still keeping the actual records sealed. Additionally, this bill limits the public's access to a general birth index or a summary birth index with respect to certain issues of adoption and paternity. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Section 552.115, Government Code, to include a local registration official, as well as the bureau of statistics of the Texas Department of Health, among those entities exempted from the requirements of Section 552.021 (Availability of Public Information), Government Code, with respect to the maintenance of a birth or death record, with the exceptions included in this section. Provides that birth and death records are available to the public after the 50th and 25th anniversary of the person's date of birth or death as shown on the record, respectively. Provides that a general birth or death index established or maintained by the bureau of vital statistics or a local registration official is public information and available to the public on the anniversary of the date on which the record becomes public as specified in this section. Makes an additional exception under this section that a summary birth or death index established or maintained by the bureau of vital statistics or a local registration official is public information and available to the public. Provides that the public's access to a general birth index or summary birth index is restricted if it reveals the fact of an adoption or paternity determination or if it contains specific identifying information relating to the parents of a child who is the subject of an adoption. SECTION 2. Emergency clause. Effective date: upon passage.