HBA-MPM H.B. 836 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 836 By: King, Tracy Public Health 3/5/1999 Committee Report (Amended) BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Currently, 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. 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 exempt a birth or death record maintained by a local registration official, as well as a record maintained by the bureau of vital statistics of the Texas Department of Health, from the requirements of Section 522.021(Availability of Public Information), with certain exceptions. Makes an additional exception under this section that a 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. SECTION 2. Emergency clause. Effective date: upon passage. EXPLANATION OF AMENDMENTS Committee Amendment #1 SECTION 1. Amends Section 552.115, Government Code, by modifying Subsection (3) to state that a birth index or a 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.