Vital Records Bill Passes House

By Angela Chagnon

H.454, otherwise known as the “Vital Records Bill”, passed the House Tuesday 130 to 5. The five “no” votes were from Tom Burditt (R-West Rutland), Timothy Corcoran (D-Bennington), Susan Hatch Davis (P-Washington), Duncan Kilmartin (R-Newport City), and House Minority Leader Don Turner (R-Milton).

Kilmartin explained his vote on the floor. His remarks were recorded in the Journal, which reads:

“I vote no. This bill is not ready for prime time! This bill does not achieve the purposes claimed for it, and the money cost is vastly underestimated.

As we sit here, covert organizations, including the federal government, have the means to use this new very “insecure” system to create false but “authentic” Vermont identities for covert operators and person in the witness protection program.

The system proposed makes us more exposed than the current system to identity theft and the use of Vermont identities for terroristic activities. This bill makes me and every Vermonter very insecure.”

The bill establishes a statewide system of vital statistics, which will be overseen by the newly created “Office of Vital Statistics”. This new position will be filled by a registrar who will be appointed by the Commissioner of the Department of Health.

H.454 also raises some of the fees associated with obtaining vital records documents. The bill as introduced can be found HERE.

Kilmartin elaborated on his vote in an interview with True North Reports. “[H.454] will centralize all records into a computer system under a new czar,” he declared. He said that Vermont’s IT Department doesn’t have the “expertise” to ensure such a system will be secure, pointing out that the Department of Defense spends “hundreds of millions of dollars for secure systems” but was unable to prevent the Wikileaks security break from happening.

“To put it politely,” Kilmartin said, “This bill reflects what in other eras would be classified as ‘institutional insanity’.”

Calling the bill the “height of irrationality”, Kilmartin revealed that a supporter of the bill admitted that the Committee knew it would never achieve the purpose intended, which was to prevent ID theft. The bill has been through both the Ways and Means and the Government Operations committees. It is unclear which of those committees Kilmartin was referring to.

“To put all ID’s of Vermonters into one computer bank, in one department, with one employee with no proven IT skills is the height of folly,” he said.

As for proponents’ claims that the bill would modernize Vermont’s vital records system, Kilmartin said, “Modernization apparently means ‘a thoughtless bandwagon mentality that’s unattached to reality’.”