Thursday, February 26, 2015

UPDATE: House passes delayed birth certificate bill

UPDATE: House passes delayed birth certificate bill

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Today, the Arizona House of Representatives passed a bill sponsored by Rep. Albert Hale, D-St. Michaels (District 7), which would codify recent action by the Arizona Department of Health Services to make it easier for Native Americans to obtain a delayed birth certificate in the state.

“Native Americans in Arizona, many of whom have struggled for years to obtain the recognition provided by a birth certificate, would benefit greatly from this bill. I am pleased that my colleagues in the House have made correcting this hardship a priority, and I hope my colleagues in the Senate will do the same,” Hale said.

This bill would make permanent the Arizona Department of Health Services policy that streamlined the process for Native Americans to receive delayed birth certificates. Previously, getting a delayed birth certificate required producing multiple forms of verification that a person was born at a specific time and place.  Many Native Americans are born at home and do not get a birth certificate issued at the time of birth, and securing the necessary documentation is often difficult. A birth certificate is important documentation for receiving social security and other benefits.

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration. The full text of HB 2157 can be found here.
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Rep. Hale is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation. He was born in Ganado and raised in Klagetoh, Arizona. He is Ashiihi (Salt), born for Todichiini (Bitter Water). His maternal grandparents are Hanaghani (Walk About clan). His paternal grandparents are Kiyanii (Tall House clan). He is a 1969 graduate of Fort Wingate High School, a Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school located east of Gallup, New Mexico. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona (1973), and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law, Albuquerque, New Mexico (1977), and an honorary Juris Doctor degree from Phoenix School of Law (2012).  He is the former President of the Navajo Nation.

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