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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: January 14, 2022 11:33 AM
From: Senator Amanda M. Cappelletti and Sen. Timothy P. Kearney, Sen. Katie J. Muth, Sen. Lindsey M. Williams
To: All Senate members
Subject: Administrative Name Change Reform
After learning more about the challenges facing transgender Pennsylvanians at a Senate Democratic Policy Hearing held last June, my colleagues and I are introducing a package of bills to reform the name change process and remove some of the legal barriers the LGBTQ+ community faces when living as their authentic selves. 

This legislation will replace the antiquated judicial name change process in Pennsylvania with a simpler, more streamlined, and largely administrative process. The current process for legally changing one’s name is expensive, time-consuming, and fraught with danger for members of Pennsylvania’s transgender community.   

By replacing our current judicial name change process with an administrative one, Pennsylvanians will have a single office and streamlined process to navigate. This new statute would establish separate but similar processes for adult and minor applicants. Court involvement would only be necessary in specific circumstances, for instance:  In the event an application cannot be completed for technical reasons, such as the inability to obtain proper identity establishing documents, or in the event of a legitimate objection by a parent who currently has parental rights. All documents created would be automatically sealed to protect the identity of the applicant. Further, this administrative process will not include several problematic, unnecessary, and discriminatory components of our current name change process such as advertising requirements and a bar on convicted felons receiving a name change for two years after their sentence has been served.   

Please join us in co-sponsoring this important legislation to update Pennsylvania’s archaic name change process. 

Introduced as SB1150