HEALTH AND SAFETY
39-240. Short title — legislative findings. (1) This act shall be known and may be cited as the "Idaho Vital Statistics Act."
(2) The legislature finds:
(a) As early as 1632, government officials began tracking vital statistics, specifically births, deaths, and marriages;
(b) Today, state and local vital records offices record over eleven million (11,000,000) vital events annually in the United States;
(c) Material facts included in vital records include the date of birth, the individual’s sex, the location of birth, the parents’ identities, and the date of death;
(d) The purpose of documenting factual information on vital records is to help the government fulfill one of its most basic duties: protecting the health and safety of its citizens;
(e) Numerous courts have recognized that the purpose of vital records is to maintain an accurate database of factual information regarding births, deaths, and other vital events in a given jurisdiction. See Sea v. U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Servs., 2015 WL 5092509, at *4 (D. Minn. Aug. 28, 2015) ("The public does have an interest in having accurate records on vital statistics…"); Ampadu v. U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Servs., Dist. Dir., 944 F. Supp. 2d 648, 655 (C.D. Ill. 2013) (acknowledging "the public’s interest in having accurate records on vital statistics"); Boiko v. Holder, 2013 WL 709047, at *2 (D. Colo. Feb. 26, 2013) ("[T]he government, and the public at large, would appear to benefit from having the most accurate vital statistics records possible."); J.R. v. Utah, 261 F. Supp. 2d 1268, 1294 (D. Utah 2002) ("The State also has a significant interest in the accuracy of the records it keeps, particularly vital records like birth certificates.");
(f) According to the national research council committee on national statistics, factual information contained in vital records is used to help diagnose and solve problems that impact national health, including tracking and diagnosing disparities in mortality rates based on age and sex, identifying factors that account for the significant differences in life expectancy between males and females, measuring and seeking solutions to socioeconomic inequalities in health based on sex and age, and studying infant death rates based on sex, location, birth weight, and other information collected from vital records;
(g) Factual information from vital records is also necessary for national security. It is used to identify potential disease epidemics, such as the zika virus, that may disproportionately impact one sex over the other; expose covert bioterrorist attacks, such as determining whether a sudden increase in certain symptoms in a population is due to random chance or should be further investigated; and identify criminals and terrorists, where vital records can be used to uncover fraudulently obtained driver’s licenses or passports; and
(h) Allowing individuals to alter their vital records, including birth certificates, based upon subjective feelings or experiences undermines the government’s interest in having accurate vital records.
[39-240, added 1949, ch. 72, sec. 32, p. 117; am. and redesig. 39-240, 1983, ch. 7, sec. 1, p. 25; am. 2020, ch. 334, sec. 1, p. 970.]