Monday, June 19, 2006

Massachusetts Records Alert

I just received this on the APG list. For the life of me, I don't understand why we have to keep on fending off these attacks on record access. Politicians claim this kind of legislation is designed to protect us -- from everything from fraud to terrorism -- but anyone who has actually studied the issue is well aware that very little fraud has occurred due to this kind of record access (criminals are too lazy -- the most likely way to become a victim of identity theft is still to use your credit card in a retail establishment) and if you can tell me how a terrorist can use a 90-year-old birth record to harm anyone, I'd be intrigued to hear.

Please contribute your voice to this issue, especially is you live in MA. And please be sure to spread the word to other genealogists.

MASSACHUSETTS GENEALOGICAL COUNCIL (MGC) P.O. Box 5393 Cochituate, MA 01778 www.massgencouncil.org

ALERT ALERT ALERT

MGC urges all genealogists who care about access to vital records to act now!

Legislative bills (H-3642, H-3643, and H-3644, petitioned by Plymouth Rep. Thomas J. O’Brien, et al.), currently pending in the Massachusetts House Ways and Means Committee, are being pushed for passage within two weeks. They will close public records that have been open for nearly 400 years as well as the indexes to them.

We all must contact our Massachusetts state Representatives and Senators to oppose these three (O’Brien) bills for the following reasons:

The bills call for restricting access to all birth records since 1915 and all marriage and death records since 1955. These records are currently open public records and are the entry point for genealogical and medical history research.
Restricting public access to the indexes of these records is unprecedented. It will deny use by all non-governmental individuals:
researchers in genealogy, medical history, probate heirs, banks, journalists, and historians.

Contact should be made immediately. We stopped these bills in 2003 – but now support for them in the legislature is formidable.

If YOU don’t speak now, these bills will change the face of genealogy in Massachusetts and beyond.
MOST EFFECTIVE: a signed letter with your reasons for opposing these closures, using your own words.
To view a sample letter for your legislators, click here http://home.comcast.net/~massgencouncil/ConstituentLetter.htm

ALSO: telephone calls, face to face meetings, and e-mails.

SHARE THIS ANNOUNCEMENT: urge your sympathetic relatives, friends, neighbors, and the professionals listed above to do the same.

Contact information for your representatives and senators is available at:
http://www.mass.gov/legis/
your town clerk
the state house at (617) 722-2000
the postal address is:
Representative (or Senator) _______, State House, Room _______, Boston, MA 02133.

If you have any questions, please respond to Sharon Sergeant, MGC Director of Programs, and member of the MGC Civil Records Committee or visit our website at www.massgencouncil.org

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