Sunday, March 16, 2014

Genealogy Editorial: Even State Law Makers Are Stupid and Ignorant People!

The home of state legislators who do not read bills -- Oklahoma State Capitol
This is something I have know for quite sometime, but now after the federal government limiting access to the SSDI debacle, I have proof that this stupidity extends down to the state legislatures as well.

Thanks to my friend Dick Eastman and his newsletter for this gem (link

I have inserted some additional thoughts in this piece that was not in Dick's original article since he is always a gentleman and diplomat about these sort of things and I'm, well, I'm a retired Navy Chief. That pretty much says it all.

Seems a professional genealogist last year tried to obtain a copy of a death record. Several years ago the boomer sooner state of Oklahoma Legislature enacted legislation that addressed vital records. That law only permitted the named person "the deceased"  to request their own death record. The law also made it a felony if a Department of Health Services employee provided the death certificate to anyone other the named person -- the person that is dead!

So let's recap this for a second. Thanks to a law passed by the Oklahoma state legislature the only person in the in Oklahoma who could request a death certificate is the person who is dead and six feet under. Truly amazing and another case of we have to pass the bill in order to figure out what is in it. I would love to know the name of the law maker who authored that bill. I have some basic life principles I would like to pass on to him/her.

In this year’s legislative session there was supposed to be amendatory legislation to address this one “glitch.” Glitch? Is that what you call stupidity? However, the legislature decided to proceed with inserting the Model Vital Records Act embargo dates for birth, marriage and death records instead.

From Dick's newsletter:

"SB 448 permits access to the death records 75 years from date of death; birth certificates 125 years from date of birth . There is no mention of marriage records in the bill. The bill still makes it unlawful to permit inspection or disclosure the information to any person other than the person who is the subject of the record unless a court of competent jurisdiction permits before the 75/125 embargo dates.

"The bill passed the Oklahoma Senate on 45-0 on March 4 and is now in the Assembly awaiting action. To read the bill as it passed the Senate go to:

"HB 3028 consolidates three departments: Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department and the Oklahoma Arts Council into one agency named the Department of Tourism, History and Cultural Affairs. It is an emergency bill which would take place immediately upon enactment and the governor signing the bill into law. The bill was originally introduced as a “shell” so that it could be “filled in” at a later date.

"The Oklahoma Historical Society is essentially dissolved, along with its board of directors and a new Oklahoma Historical division is created within the new Department of Tourism, History and Cultural Affairs. To read the bill see: On February 27 it passed the Government Modernization Committee 6-5. The bill has to be scheduled for a full vote by the House. If it is not scheduled by March 13, it dies.

"The Oklahoma Historical Society has 10,000 members and the new proposed division within the Tourism, History and Cultural Affairs apparently would not have members. House Bill 3028 converts the OHS Board of Directors to an advisory group with no authority and transfer all its assets and funds to the Tourism Department. The Society has been around for 120 years."

So we fix one bit of stupidity and add even more. As Forrest Gump said, "stupid is as stupid does."