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AfriGeneas States Research Forum

[TX] Legislation To Close Records

From: James Hollas

Dear Genealogist,

Below is a message from Mic Barnett of Houston about the bills before
the Texas Legislature that affect us as genealogists. Most of these
bills would close or reduce access to records we use. Mic is the owner
of Barnett Books and is a regular vendor at our Seminar. Last year his
large area was in the middle of the vendor room. He also writes a
Saturday column for the Houston Chronicle.

Please read the message and get on the mail list and write letters to
let your representatives know how you feel. Otherwise, we may lose even more access to the records.

James Hollas
AGS President
- --------------------------------------------------
Hi Everyone:

As the Texas Liaison for the Joint (National Genealogical
Society/Federation of Genealogical Societies) NGS-FGS Records
Preservation and Access Committee I have set up both a website and email mailing list to aid us in lobbying the Texas Legislature. The
Legislature currently has several bills pending which seek to close
records to the public. Information about these bills is on the website.

This website is a place where we can post information about particular
bills and how to locate legislators to contact.

The mailing list is designed as a forum for us genealogists to
communicate quickly and be able to coordinate activities in quick mode
should we have to do so. And we already have to do so. There is a
hearing at 1:30 or whenever the committee earlier in the day adjourns-
for the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee discussing SB81 and SB 85
which both want to close DD214-Military Discharge records in the county clerk's offices. The hearing will be held in the Betty King Committee Room in Austin. Anyone who attend is asked to do so

I have included others from states outside the Republic of Texas in this email so they can see what we are doing here. They might wish to monitor what we do or just follow our lead and do something similar in their own state.

The website is located at
There is a page on the website where one may go to subscribe to the
mailing list, however you may do so by following the attached directions
The mailing list may be subscribed to by sending an email to in the message area of the email type subscribe. There is a digest mode at
but it may be held up 12 hours before being sent. For speedier mail, at least during the legislative season when it might count, I would
recommend subscribing to the L mode rather than the D mode. After the
legislative season there may not be anything to say on this list. It
will already have been said and voted upon.

The basic things to be concerned with at his point is about 8 bills
pending in the House and the Senate which aim to close DD214/Military
Discharges in Texas.
Plus two new bills, one in the House and one in the Senate wanting to
extend the time birth records are closed in Texas from 50 years to 75 years.
Plus a bill wanting to close marriage applications to the public.
Plus TEXSHARE/TIFF funding for schools and libraries and electronic
database access.
Plus HIPPA which I don't know much about but which is expected to go
into effect April 14 and will probably close records which have medical records or information in them. This bill effects insurance and medical companies and offices. I remember hearing some people talking about this last week they were not into genealogy. Now I have had someone in a county clerk's office ask me about the same thing and said it may affect their records. So, we may have to address this problem, too.

The whole crux of closing public records is all about Identity Theft and the fear of it. People feel that if a record is available for use
someone must be stealing their identity. So, Identity theft and how to
protect public records from thieves and convince public officials not to pass laws closing them is going to be our goal at least as I envision it.

Please pass this email to everyone in every society. We will need some
some numbers to show the legislature we care. We are starting late in
the legislative season and are therefore already behind.



James Hollas
7704 Evaline Ln
Austin, Tx 78745

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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