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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: February 2, 2018 03:05 PM
From: Representative Jim Cox
To: All House members
Subject: Preventing Collection of Fees Prior to Processing Vital Record Applications
Many of us had heard from constituents in the last few months about how extremely difficult it is to get certified copies of birth and death certificates in a timely manner. There is a significant statewide delay in processing these certificates, especially death certificates which is holding up tens of thousands of dollars in estate settlements and adding unnecessary frustration for grieving families. It is currently taking up to four months for online orders and up to seven months for regular mail orders for death certificate applications.

According to the Department of Health, there has been a significant increase in demand for birth certificates across the state due to the ongoing Real ID issue, which is causing significant delays in the processing of vital records applications. Regardless of the reason behind the delays, constituents should NOT be misled as to how long it is going to take to receive their certified copies and most importantly, they SHOULD NOT BE CHARGED until their application has actually been processed.

I share the frustration of my constituents regarding this issue. Therefore, I am planning on introducing legislation in the near future to amend the Vital Statistics Code to prohibit the Department from charging an individual until the process has been completed and the documents have been mailed to them. My legislation will also require the Department to reflect this information on their website and on VitalCheck, the online processing system.

I hope you will join me in cosponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as HB2580