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Bill Number: 3144 Ratification Number: 356 Act Number 341 Introducing Body: House Subject: Responsibilities of the Department of Health and Environmental Control
(A341, R356, H3144)
AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 63 OF TITLE 44, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO VITAL STATISTICS, SO AS TO CLARIFY THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL IN THE REGISTRATION AND CERTIFICATION OF VITAL RECORDS; REQUIRE EACH INSTITUTION PROVIDING NURSING, CUSTODIAL, OR DOMICILIARY CARE TO ISSUE PERMITS AND REQUIRE THE CORONER OF EACH COUNTY TO ISSUE PERMITS FOR NONINSTITUTION DEATHS; DELETE CERTAIN PENALTY PROVISIONS WHICH ARE INCORPORATED INTO OTHER PROVISIONS OF CHAPTER 63; SPECIFY RESTRICTIONS ON THE ISSUANCE OF COPIES TO AUTHORIZED ENTITIES; CLARIFY THOSE ENTITLED TO THE SHORT FORM OR BIRTH CARD AND SPECIFY WHICH CODE SECTIONS GOVERN THE ESTABLISHMENT OF PATERNITY; ADD PROVISIONS TO PREVENT THE FRAUDULENT USE OF BIRTH CERTIFICATES OF DECEASED PERSONS AND PROVIDE A MECHANISM FOR MEMBERS OF A DECEASED PERSON'S FAMILY TO OBTAIN A COPY OF THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE; ADD PROVISIONS WHICH PROVIDE FOR THE ISSUANCE OF A CERTIFIED COPY OF A DEATH CERTIFICATE ONLY TO THOSE INDIVIDUALS WITH A DIRECT AND TANGIBLE INTEREST WHILE ALLOWING ACCESS TO THE OLDER RECORDS FOR GENEALOGICAL OR OTHER PURPOSES TO THE APPLICANT; ADD PROVISIONS TO SPECIFY ENTITLEMENT TO COPIES OF MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE RECORDS FILED WITH THE DEPARTMENT; PROVIDE THAT NO DELAYED BIRTH CERTIFICATE MAY BE REGISTERED FOR A DECEASED PERSON AND DELETE PROVISIONS WHICH DUPLICATE THIS PROVISION; PROVIDE THE CORRECT REFERENCES TO COVER ALL FEES CHARGED BY THE STATE REGISTRAR FOR SEARCHING, CERTIFYING, AND AMENDING INDIVIDUAL VITAL RECORDS; PROVIDE A PROCESS FOR FILING BIRTH CERTIFICATES WITH THE BUREAU OF VITAL STATISTICS FOR FOREIGN-BORN, ALIEN CHILDREN ADOPTED IN THIS STATE; CLARIFY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CORRECTING MISTAKES IN BIRTH AND DEATH CERTIFICATES; CLARIFY THE PROCESS OF AMENDING THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE OF A CHILD WHOSE PARENTS MARRY AFTER THE CHILD'S BIRTH; GROUP ALL PENALTIES WITHIN ONE CODE SECTION; PROVIDE A PROCESS OF FILING OR AMENDING A BIRTH CERTIFICATE WHERE PATERNITY HAS BEEN DETERMINED PURSUANT TO AN ORDER OF THE FAMILY COURT; PROVIDE A PROCESS FOR ENTERING THE FATHER'S NAME ON A BIRTH CERTIFICATE BASED UPON PATERNITY ACKNOWLEDGMENT BY THE MOTHER AND PERSON TO BE NAMED AS THE FATHER; CLARIFY THE PROVISION FOR ESTABLISHING A DELAYED BIRTH CERTIFICATE AT A COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT FOR A PERSON BORN PRIOR TO 1915; AND DELETE PROVISIONS WHICH TRANSFER RECORDS FROM THE CLERKS OF COURT TO THE COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENTS.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Chapter 63 of Title 44 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
Section 44-63-10. The Department of Health and Environmental Control shall prepare the necessary methods and forms for obtaining vital statistics.
Section 44-63-20. The Department of Health and Environmental Control shall establish a bureau of vital statistics and provide an adequate system for the registration and certification of births, deaths, marriages, and divorces by formulating, promulgating, and enforcing regulations prescribing the method and form of making the registration and certification
Section 44-63-30. The Commissioner of Health and Environmental Control is the state registrar of vital statistics and shall carry into effect the regulations and orders of the department. The department shall provide suitable apartments properly equipped with fireproof vaults and filing cases for the permanent preservation of all official records.
Section 44-63-40. The state registrar shall appoint the chief administrative officer of each county health department as the county registrar. All persons in the county required by law to file reports of birth, death, and fetal death shall forward these reports to the county registrar. The county registrar may appoint a deputy registrar who is vested with the right to carry on the duties of the office. The county registrar and deputy registrar shall carry out the duties formerly carried out by local registrars without additional compensation. The county registrar shall appoint a subregistrar for each hospital, nursing home, and other institution as required within the county whose duty it is to issue Burial-Removal-Transit Permits for deaths occurring at the hospitals, nursing homes, and other institutions. The county registrar shall require the coroner of the county to issue Burial-Removal-Transit Permits for deaths occurring outside hospitals, nursing homes, or other institutions.
Section 44-63-50. (Vacant)
Section 44-63-60. The state registrar shall, upon application by those entitled pursuant to Sections 44-63-80, 44-63-81, 44-63-82 or 44-63-83, furnish a certificate under the seal of the department showing data from the records of births, deaths, marriages, and divorces registered with the department or a certified copy under seal of such records. Federal, state, local, and other public or private agencies may be furnished copies or data for statistical, health, or legal purposes upon such terms or conditions as may be prescribed by the state registrar.
Section 44-63-70. The state registrar shall prescribe the proper forms for the certification and recording of all vital statistics in this State and shall furnish copies of these forms to all county registrars and appropriate agencies in the State having the responsibility for the registration, reporting, and certification of vital statistics, data, and information.
Section 44-63-80. Except as otherwise provided, certified copies of the original birth certificate or any new or amendatory certificate, exclusive of that portion containing confidential information, must be issued only by the state registrar and only to the registrant, if of legal age, his parent or guardian, or other legal representative. However, the certified copy of the birth certificate may not disclose the name of the father in any illegitimate birth unless the name of the father is entered on the certificate pursuant to Section 44-63-162 or Section 44-63-163. The short form certificate or birth card may be furnished only to the registrant, his parent or guardian, or other legal representative by the state or county registrar.
When one hundred years have elapsed after the date of birth, these records must be made available in photographic or other suitable format for public viewing.
Section 44-63-82. To protect the integrity of vital records and to prevent the fraudulent use of birth certificates of deceased persons, the state registrar is authorized to match birth and death certificates and to post the fact of death to the appropriate birth certificate. Copies issued from birth certificates marked deceased must be similarly marked. In addition to those entitled to receive certified copies of birth certificates pursuant to Section 44-63-80, certified copies of birth certificates marked deceased may be issued to a member of the registrant's immediate family under such terms and conditions as may be prescribed by the state registrar.
Section 44-63-84. Copies of death certificates may be issued to members of the deceased's family or their respective legal representatives. Others who demonstrate a direct and tangible interest may be issued copies when information is needed for the determination of a personal or property right. Other applicants may be provided with a statement that the death occurred, the date, and county of death. However, when fifty years have elapsed after the date of death, these records become public records and any person may obtain copies upon submission of an application containing sufficient information to locate the record. For each copy issued or search of the files made, the state registrar shall collect the same fee as is charged for the issuance of certified copies or a search of the files for other records in his possession.
When fifty years have elapsed after the date of death, these records must be made available in photographic or other suitable format for public viewing.
Section 44-63-86. Copies of marriage certificates and reports of divorce registered with the Department of Health and Environmental Control may be issued to the parties married or divorced, their adult children, a present or former spouse of either party married or divorced, or their respective legal representative. Other applicants may be provided with a statement that the marriage or divorce occurred, the date, and county of the event.
Section 44-63-90. When the birth of a person born in the State has not been registered, a certificate may be filed subject to these regulations prescribed by the state registrar of vital statistics. However, when it appears that an applicant for a certificate of birth cannot produce minimum prescribed documentation, satisfactory as to validity, to the state registrar, the applicant may be denied a certificate of birth and advised as to the reason for the denial. No delayed birth certificate may be registered for a deceased person.
Section 44-63-100. A petition may be filed in the family court of petitioner's residence for an order establishing a record of the date of birth, place of birth, and parentage of the person whose birth is sought to be registered by way of a delayed birth certificate.
The petition must allege that the person for whom a delayed certificate of birth is sought was born in this State, that no record of birth exists, and that the petitioner has failed to produce the minimum required documentation to the state registrar of vital statistics.
The court shall fix the time and place of a hearing on the petition for establishment of birth registration, and at least ten days' notice in writing must be given to the state registrar of vital statistics.
The court shall determine the place of birth, date of birth, parentage, and those other findings as considered necessary, and shall issue its order which must include all data prescribed by the state registrar to establish a record of birth which must be recorded and constitutes the record of birth. This order must include the birth date to be registered and a description of the evidence presented. The order must be forwarded by the clerk of the family court to the state registrar no later than the tenth day of the calendar month following the month in which it was entered by the court.
Section 44-63-110. For making, furnishing, or certifying any card, certificate, or certified copy of the record, for filing a record amendment according to the provisions of Section 44-63-60, 44-63-80, 44-63-go or 44-63-100, or for searching the record, when no card, certificate, or certified copy is made, a fee in an amount as determined by the Board of Health and Environmental Control must be paid by the applicant. The amount of the fee established by the board may not exceed the cost of the services performed and to the extent possible must be charged on a uniform basis throughout the State. When verification of the facts contained in these records is needed for Veterans' Administration purposes in connection with a claim, it must be furnished without charge to the South Carolina Department of Veterans' Affairs or to a county veterans' affairs officer upon request and upon the furnishing of satisfactory evidence that the request is for the purpose authorized in this chapter.
Section 44-63-120. The state registrar shall remit all fees received by him under the provisions of this chapter to the State Treasurer each month.
Section 44-63-130. (Vacant)
Section 44-63-140. Upon receipt of a certified Certificate of Adoption pursuant to Section 20-7-1790:
(1) For a person born in this State, the state registrar shall prepare a supplementary Certificate of Birth in the name of the adoptee, free of any reference to or indication of the fact that the child was adopted and showing the adoptive parents as the real parents, except that an adoption of an adult must display the words 'By Adoption' on the face of the amended certificate.
The state registrar shall furnish a copy of the amended certificate to the county registrar who shall file the amended certificate in lieu of the copy of the original birth certificate. The state registrar shall require the county registrar to return the copy of the original certificate recorded at the county office to the state office to be placed in the special sealed file. Periodically, the state registrar shall transmit copies of amendatory certificates to the county registrar in the county of birth.
(2) When adoption is decreed by a family court in this State of a person born in a foreign country who was not a United States citizen at birth and evidence of the date and place of birth submitted to the court and the court order setting forth the date and place of birth are attached to the Certificate of Adoption, the state registrar, when directed by the court order, shall prepare a 'Certificate of Foreign Birth'. The certificate, and any issued copy of the certificate, must be labeled 'Certificate of Foreign Birth' and must show the actual country of birth. A statement also must be included on the certificate, and any issued copy of the certificate, that it is not evidence of United States citizenship for the person for whom it is issued.
(3) If the person was born in a foreign country and was a United States citizen at the time of birth, the state registrar may not prepare a 'Certificate of Foreign Birth' but shall notify the adoptive parents of the procedure for obtaining a revised birth certificate for their child through the United States Department of State.
(4) For a person born in another state in the United States, the state registrar shall transmit the certified Certificate of Adoption to the state registrar in the state of birth.
Section 44-63-150. Correction of mistakes in birth and death certificates may be made by the state registrar upon written application duly verified and sworn to by the appropriate person as required by regulation and upon receipt of supporting evidence when required by regulation. Certificates corrected more than one year after the event must be marked 'amended'. The state registrar shall certify the corrected certificate is the true certificate. Supporting affidavits of fact must be attached to the certificate corrected more than one year after the date of the event.
Section 44-63-160. To amend a birth record of a child legitimized under the provisions of Section 20-l-60 or 20-1-70, the Bureau of Vital Statistics shall require an affidavit of both parents and a certified copy of the parents' marriage record. However, if either the mother or the reputed father is deceased, if another man is shown as the father of the child on the original birth certificate, or if the original birth certificate states that the mother was married, a new certificate may be prepared only when a determination of paternity is made by the family court. The original birth certificate and documents authorizing the amendment must be placed in a sealed file not to be subJect to inspection except upon order of the family court.
Section 44-63-161. It is unlawful for:
(1) anyone other than the Department of Health and Environmental Control and county health departments to issue copies or certified copies of birth and death certificates or any document purporting to be a birth or death certificate;
(2) any person to wilfully make a false statement in a certificate, record, or report required to be filed by law or in an application for an amendment to it or in an application for a certified copy of a vital record, or to wilfully supply false information intending that the information be used in the preparation of any report, record, or certificate, or amendment to it;
(3) any person without lawful authority and with the intent to deceive, make, counterfeit, alter, amend, or mutilate any certificate, record, or report required to be filed by law or a certified copy of such certificate, record, or report;
(4) any person to wilfully and knowingly obtain, possess, use, sell, furnish, or attempt to obtain, possess, use, sell, or furnish to another, for any purpose of deception, any certificate, record, report, or certified copy thereof so made, counterfeited, altered, amended, or mutilated;
(5) any person to violate any regulation or order of the department relative to recording, reporting, or filing information for the Bureau of Vital Statistics;
(6) any person to wilfully neglect or refuse to perform any necessary or reasonable duties imposed upon him by any regulation or order of the department relative to recording, reporting, or filing information for the Bureau of Vital Statistics.
Any person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be punished by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned for not more than two years, or both.
Section 44-63-163. A certificate must be prepared for a child born in this State to reflect the name of the father determined by the court upon receipt of a certified copy of a court determination of paternity pursuant to Section 20-7-952. If the surname of the child is not decreed by the court, the request for the certificate must specify the surname to be placed on the certificate. When an amended certificate is prepared, the original certificate and certified copy of the court order must be placed in a sealed file not to be subject to inspection except by order of the family court.
Section 44-63-165. A certificate must be prepared for a child born out of wedlock in this State to include the name of the father upon receipt of a sworn acknowledgment of paternity signed by both parents to include the surname by which the child is to be known. However, if the reputed father or the mother is deceased, if another man is shown as the father of the child on the original birth certificate, or if the original birth certificate states that the mother was married, a new certificate may be prepared only when a determination of paternity is made by the family court pursuant to Section 20-7-952. A paternity acknowledgment is not subject to inspection except upon order of the family court.
Section 44-63-170. (Vacant)
Section 44-63-180. Any individual born in this State prior to 1915 who has no official record of his birth may register a delayed birth certificate under the direction of the state registrar with the county health department in the county in which he was born. Nothing in this chapter makes the registration compulsory; however, a delayed birth certificate may not be registered for a deceased person as provided by Section 44-63-90.
Section 44-63-200. (Vacant)"
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.