MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Proposed legislation would make it easier for Wisconsin residents to obtain birth, marriage, death and other vital records if those events occurred in the state.
Currently, people have to travel to the county in which the event happened, or send a request by mail. A bill circulating in the state Legislature would allow residents to pick up those records at any register of deeds office in Wisconsin.
Software upgrades to the state’s vital records system in recent years have made it possible for local offices to issue records no matter where the documents originated in Wisconsin, Racine County Register of Deeds Tyson Fettes said.
“With all of the advancements in technology, we need to continue to make it easier on our citizens to get the services they need,” Fettes said. “Granting citizens access to their records from anywhere in the state is good government and provides numerous advantages.”
The bill also benefits title companies, funeral homes, attorneys and banks obtaining records on behalf of customers, he said. Residents and businesses are often unable to obtain a vital record at the Racine County office under the current law, Fettes said.
Fettes told The Journal Times it may take a few years for all records to be available at the county level because the state would have to scan and enter them into the database.
The proposal is being circulated for co-sponsors and could be introduced next year. If passed before the end of the legislative session next spring, it would go into effect Jan. 1, 2017.