Texas Health and Safety Code

As effective September 1, 2019

Title 3

Chapter 191

Subchapter A

Sec. 191.001: Definitions

In this title:

(1) "Department" means the Department of State Health Services.

(2) "Executive commissioner" means the executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission.

(3) "Vital statistics unit" means the vital statistics unit established in the Department of State Health Services.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0527, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 191.0011: Reference in Other Law

A reference in other law to the bureau of vital statistics of the department or of the former Texas Department of Health means the vital statistics unit established in the department.

Comments

Added by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0528, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 191.002: Powers and Duties of Department

(a) The department shall administer the registration of vital statistics.

(b) The department shall:

(1) establish a vital statistics unit in the department with suitable offices that are properly equipped for the preservation of its official records;

(2) establish a statewide system of vital statistics;

(3) provide instructions and prescribe forms for collecting, recording, transcribing, compiling, and preserving vital statistics;

(4) require the enforcement of this title and rules adopted under this title;

(5) prepare, print, and supply to local registrars forms for registering, recording, and preserving returns or otherwise carrying out the purposes of this title; and

(6) propose legislation necessary for the purposes of this title.

(c) The department may use birth records and provide those records on request to other state agencies for programs notifying mothers of young children about children's health needs.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0529, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 191.003: Powers and Duties of Executive Commissioner and Department

(a) The executive commissioner shall adopt necessary rules for collecting, recording, transcribing, compiling, and preserving vital statistics.

(a-1) The department shall:

(1) supervise the vital statistics unit; and

(2) appoint the director of the vital statistics unit.

(b) In an emergency, the executive commissioner may suspend any part of this title that hinders the uniform and efficient registration of vital events and may substitute emergency rules designed to expedite that registration under disaster conditions.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0530, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 191.0031: Certified Copies By Mail

The state registrar or a local registrar may not issue a certified copy of a record under this chapter to a person who has applied for the record by mail unless the person has provided notarized proof of identity in accordance with rules adopted by the executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission. The rules may require the issuer of the certified copy to verify the notarization using the records of the secretary of state under Section 406.012, Government Code.

Comments

Added by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 837 (S.B. 200), Sec. 5.01, eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 191.004: State Registrar

(a) The director of the vital statistics unit is the state registrar of vital statistics. The director must be a competent vital statistician.

(b) The state registrar shall prepare and issue detailed instructions necessary for the uniform observance of this title and the maintenance of a perfect system of registration.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0531, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 191.0045: Fees

(a) The department may collect fees for providing services to the public and performing other activities in connection with maintenance of the vital statistics system, including:

(1) performing searches of birth, death, fetal death, marriage, divorce, annulment, and other records;

(2) preparing and issuing copies and certified copies of birth, death, fetal death, marriage, divorce, annulment, and other records; and

(3) filing a record, amendment, or affidavit under this title.

(b) The executive commissioner by rule may prescribe a schedule of fees for vital statistics services. The aggregate of the amounts of the fees may not exceed the cost of administering the vital statistics system.

(c) The department shall refund to an applicant any fee received for services that the department cannot perform. If the money has been deposited to the credit of the vital statistics account in the general revenue fund, the comptroller shall issue a warrant against the fund for refund of the payment on presentation of a claim signed by the state registrar.

(d) A local registrar or county clerk who issues a certified copy of a birth or death certificate shall collect the same fees as collected by the department, including the additional fee required under Subsection (e), except as provided by Subsections (g) and (h).

(e) In addition to fees charged by the department under Subsection (b), the department shall collect an additional $2 fee for each of the following:

(1) issuing a certified copy of a certificate of birth;

(2) issuing a wallet-sized certification of birth; and

(3) conducting a search for a certificate of birth.

(f) Repealed by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 263, Sec. 5(1), eff. May 30, 2005.

(g) A local registrar or county clerk that on March 31, 1995, was collecting a fee for the issuance of a certified copy of a birth certificate that exceeded the fee collected by the department for the same type of certificate may continue to do so but shall not raise this fee until the fee collected by the department exceeds the fee collected by the local registrar or county clerk. A local registrar or county clerk to which this subsection applies shall collect the additional fee as required under Subsection (e).

(h) In addition to other fees collected under this section, a local registrar or county clerk may collect a fee not to exceed $1 for:

(1) preserving vital statistics records maintained by the registrar or county clerk, including birth, death, fetal death, marriage, divorce, and annulment records;

(2) training registrar or county clerk employees regarding vital statistics records; and

(3) ensuring the safety and security of vital statistics records.

(i) A fee under this section shall be collected by the registrar or county clerk on the issuance of a vital statistics record, including a record issued through a Remote Birth Access site.

Comments

Added by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 14, Sec. 52, eff. Sept. 1, 1991. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 651, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, Sec. 9.62, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 305, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 975, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 263 (H.B. 2962), Sec. 5(1), eff. May 30, 2005.

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 400 (S.B. 1524), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1022 (H.B. 2717), Sec. 3, eff. June 17, 2011.

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0532, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 191.0046: Fee Exemptions

(a) On the request of a child's parent or guardian, the state registrar shall issue without fee a certificate necessary for admission to school or to secure employment. The certificate shall be limited to a statement of the child's date of birth.

(b) The state registrar shall issue without fee a certified copy of a record not otherwise prohibited by law to a veteran or to the veteran's widow, orphan, or other dependent if the copy is for use in settling a claim against the government.

(c) On court order, the state registrar may issue without fee a certified copy of a birth record in cases related to child labor or the public schools.

(d) The state registrar on request shall issue without a fee a copy of a birth or death record that is not certified to a child fatality review team or the child fatality review team committee established under Subchapter F, Chapter 264, Family Code.

(e) It is the intent of the legislature to not impose a cost for obtaining certified records for the purpose of obtaining an election identification certificate issued pursuant to Chapter 521A, Transportation Code. Notwithstanding any other law, the state registrar, a local registrar, or a county clerk shall not charge a fee to an applicant that is associated with searching for or providing a record, including a certified copy of a birth record, if the applicant states that the applicant is requesting the record for the purpose of obtaining an election identification certificate under Section 521A.001, Transportation Code.

(f) Notwithstanding Subsection (e), a local registrar or a county clerk who issues a birth record that is required for the purpose of obtaining an election identification certificate issued pursuant to Chapter 521A, Transportation Code, and is otherwise entitled by law to retain all or a portion of a fee for that birth record, is entitled to payment of the amount from the department.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept.1, 1989. Renumbered from Sec. 191.054 and amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 14, Sec. 52, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 11 (S.B. 239), Sec. 1, eff. May 3, 2005.

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 130 (S.B. 983), Sec. 1, eff. May 27, 2015.

Sec. 191.0047: Birth Information for Department of Family and Protective Services

(a) The department shall implement an efficient and effective method to verify birth information or provide a certified copy of a birth record necessary to provide services for the benefit of a minor being served by the Department of Family and Protective Services.

(b) The department shall enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Family and Protective Services to implement this section. Subject to Subsection (c), the terms of the memorandum of understanding must include methods for reimbursing the department in an amount that is not more than the actual costs the department incurs in verifying the birth information or providing the birth record to the Department of Family and Protective Services.

(c) The department may not collect a fee or other amount for verification of birth information or provision of a certified copy of the birth record under Subsection (a) for a child in the managing conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services if parental rights to the child have been terminated and the child is eligible for adoption.

Comments

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1406 (S.B. 758), Sec. 23, eff. September 1, 2007.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 758 (S.B. 703), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2009.

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0533, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 191.0048: Voluntary Contribution to Texas Home Visiting Program

(a) A person requesting a copy or certified copy of a birth, marriage, or divorce record may make a voluntary contribution of $5 to promote healthy early childhood by supporting the Texas Home Visiting Program administered by the Office of Early Childhood Coordination of the Health and Human Services Commission.

(b) On each paper or electronic application form for a copy or certified copy of a birth, marriage, or divorce record, the department shall include a printed box for the applicant to check indicating that the applicant wishes to make a voluntary contribution of $5 to promote healthy early childhood by supporting the Texas Home Visiting Program administered by the Office of Early Childhood Coordination of the Health and Human Services Commission.

(c) Notwithstanding Section 191.0045, a local registrar or county clerk may collect the additional voluntary contribution under this section.

(d) Notwithstanding Section 191.005, the local registrar or county clerk who collects the voluntary contribution under this section shall send the voluntary contribution to the comptroller, who shall deposit the voluntary contribution in the Texas Home Visiting Program trust fund under Section 531.287, Government Code.

Comments

Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 820 (S.B. 1836), Sec. 3, eff. June 14, 2013.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0534, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 191.0049: Birth Record Issued to Foster Child Or Youth Or Homeless Child Or Youth

On request of a child or youth described by this section, the state registrar, a local registrar, or a county clerk shall issue, without fee or parental consent, a certified copy of the child's or youth's birth record to:

(1) a homeless child or youth as defined by 42 U.S.C. Section 11434a;

(2) a child in the managing conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services; and

(3) a young adult who:

(A) is at least 18 years of age, but younger than 21 years of age; and

(B) resides in a foster care placement, the cost of which is paid by the Department of Family and Protective Services.

Comments

Added by Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1024 (H.B. 123), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2019.

Sec. 191.005: Vital Statistics Account

(a) The vital statistics account is an account in the general revenue fund in the state treasury.

(b) The legislature shall make appropriations to the department from the vital statistics account to be used to defray expenses incurred in the administration and enforcement of the system of vital statistics.

(c) All fees collected by the department under this chapter shall be deposited to the credit of the vital statistics account.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 14, Sec. 53, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0535, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 191.006: Records of Persons in Hospitals and Institutions

(a) This section applies to each public or private hospital, almshouse, or other institution to which persons are committed by process of law or voluntarily enter for treatment of disease or for confinement.

(b) When a person is admitted to the institution, the superintendent, manager, or other person in charge of the institution shall record, in the manner directed by the state registrar, the admitted person's personal and statistical data required by certificate forms under this title. If the person is admitted for the treatment of disease, the physician in charge shall specify for the record the nature of the disease and where, in the physician's opinion, the disease was contracted.

(c) The personal information required under Subsection (b) shall be obtained:

(1) from the person admitted to the institution, if practicable; or

(2) from the person's relatives or friends or from other persons acquainted with the facts, in as complete a manner as possible, if the information cannot be obtained from the person admitted to the institution.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 191.007: Regulation By Certain Municipalities

The governing body of a Type A general-law municipality may:

(1) regulate the registration of marriages; and

(2) direct the return and maintenance of bills of mortality.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 191.008: Sorting Collected Data

(a) The department shall compile the information relating to births, deaths, and fetal deaths collected under this chapter and organize the results, to the extent possible, according to the following geographic areas:

(1) the Texas-Mexico border region;

(2) each public health region;

(3) rural areas;

(4) urban areas;

(5) each county; and

(6) the state.

(b) The department may release the information relating to births, deaths, and fetal deaths in accordance with the way it is compiled under this section.

Comments

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1034 (H.B. 1126), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2005.

Sec. 191.009: Use of Diacritical Marks

(a) In this section, "diacritical mark" means a mark used in Latin script to change the sound of the letter to which it is added or used to distinguish the meaning of the word in which the letter appears. The term includes accents, tildes, graves, umlauts, and cedillas.

(b) The state registrar shall ensure that a vital statistics record issued under this title properly records any diacritical mark used in a person's name.

Comments

Added by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1041 (H.B. 1823), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 191.010: Death Information for Department of Public Safety

(a) The department shall implement an efficient and effective method to verify death information to assist the Department of Public Safety with maintaining records of holders of driver's licenses and personal identification certificates in this state.

(b) The department shall enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Public Safety to implement this section. The memorandum of understanding must include a mechanism for the department to provide to the Department of Public Safety death information that includes unique identifiers, including social security numbers, necessary to accurately match death records with driver's license and personal identification certificate records.

Comments

Added by Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 737 (S.B. 1205), Sec. 1, eff. June 12, 2017.

Redesignated from Health and Safety Code, Section 191.009 by Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 467 (H.B. 4170), Sec. 21.001(36), eff. September 1, 2019.

Subchapter B

Sec. 191.021: Registration Districts

(a) The state is divided into registration districts for the purposes of registering births, deaths, and fetal deaths. The registration districts are:

(1) each justice of the peace precinct; and

(2) each municipality with a population of 2,500 or more.

(b) To facilitate registration, the department may combine or divide registration districts.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0536, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 191.022: Local Registrars

(a) The justice of the peace is the local registrar of births and deaths in a justice of the peace precinct. However, the duty of registering births and deaths may be transferred to the county clerk if the justice of the peace and the county clerk agree in writing and the agreement is ratified by the commissioners court.

(b) The municipal clerk or secretary is the local registrar of births and deaths in a municipality with a population of 2,500 or more.

(c) Each local registrar shall appoint a deputy registrar so that a registrar will be available at all times for the registration of births and deaths.

(d) The local registrar shall sign each report made to the department.

(e) If a local registrar fails or refuses to register each birth and death in the district or neglects duties under this title, the county judge or the mayor, as appropriate, shall appoint a new local registrar and shall send the name and mailing address of the appointee to the state registrar.

(f) A local registrar who collects a fee for a certified copy of a birth certificate shall deduct 20 cents of that fee to apply to the registrar's administrative costs and remit $1.80 of that fee to the comptroller.

(g) Each local registrar shall annually submit a self-assessment report to the state registrar. The department shall prescribe the information that must be included in the report to allow a thorough desk audit of a local registrar.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 305, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 263 (H.B. 2962), Sec. 1, eff. May 30, 2005.

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0537, eff. April 2, 2015.

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 837 (S.B. 200), Sec. 5.02, eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 191.023: Consolidation of County and Municipal Maintenance of Birth and Death Records

(a) The duties imposed by law relating to the maintenance of birth and death records of a municipality with a population of 2,500 or more may be transferred to the county in which the municipality is located, as provided by this section.

(b) If the commissioners court adopts a resolution to transfer the duties and the governing body of the municipality subsequently adopts a concurring resolution, the county and municipality shall agree on a timetable for the transfer and shall execute the transfer in an orderly fashion.

(c) Before a commissioners court may adopt a resolution under Subsection (b), the official to whom the duties would be transferred must attest in writing that the official has sufficient resources and finances to assume those duties.

(d) If the governing body of a municipality does not adopt a concurring resolution before the 91st day after the date on which a county adopts a resolution under Subsection (b), a petition by the qualified voters of the municipality may serve as the equivalent of a concurring resolution under Subsection (b). The petition must succinctly describe the intention to consolidate county and municipal maintenance of birth and death records and must be signed by a number of qualified voters equal to at least 20 percent of the number of qualified voters voting in the most recent mayoral election.

(e) A consolidation under this section affects only the county and the municipality to which the resolutions apply. This section does not affect the apportionment of registration districts under Section 191.021.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 191.024: Reports of Information

(a) On the state registrar's demand, a person, including a local registrar, physician, midwife, or funeral director, who has information relating to a birth, death, or fetal death shall supply the information to the state registrar in person, by mail, or through the local registrar. The person shall supply the information on a form provided by the department or on the original certificate.

(b) An organization or individual who has a record of births or deaths that may be useful to establish the genealogy of a resident of this state may file the record or a duly authenticated transcript of the record with the state registrar.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Amended by:

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 302 (H.B. 2061), Sec. 1, eff. June 17, 2011.

Sec. 191.025: Record Books and Certificates

(a) Forms for the registration of births, deaths, and fetal deaths must be approved by the department.

(b) A municipality shall supply its local registrar, and each county shall supply the county clerk, with permanent record books for recording the births, deaths, and fetal deaths occurring in their respective jurisdictions. The record books must be in forms approved by the state registrar.

(c) A local registrar shall supply forms of certificates to persons who need them. The executive commissioner shall establish and promulgate rules for strict accountability of birth certificates to prevent birth certificate fraud.

(d) Information required on a certificate must be written legibly in durable blue or black ink or may be filed and registered by photographic, electronic, or other means as prescribed by the state registrar.

(e) A certificate must contain each item of information required on the certificate or a satisfactory reason for omitting the item.

(f) The department shall require that the form for the registration of deaths must include the question, "Was the decedent a peace officer or an honorably retired peace officer in this state?".

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 15, Sec. 5.14, eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 17, Sec. 1, eff. April 25, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 476, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 744 (H.B. 2769), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0538, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 191.026: Local Records

(a) The local registrar shall secure a complete record of each birth, death, and fetal death that occurs in the local registrar's jurisdiction.

(b) The local registrar shall consecutively number birth and death certificates in separate series, beginning with the number "1" for the first birth and the first death in each calendar year. The local registrar shall sign each certificate to attest to the date the certificate is filed in the local registrar's office.

(c) The local registrar shall copy in the record book required under Section 191.025 each certificate that the local registrar registers, unless the local registrar keeps duplicates under Subsection (d) or makes photographic duplications as authorized by Chapter 201, Local Government Code, or the provisions of Chapter 204, Local Government Code, derived from former Chapter 181, Local Government Code. Except as provided by Subsection (e), the copies shall be permanently preserved in the local registrar's office as the local record, in the manner directed by the state registrar.

(d) The local registrar may permanently bind duplicate reports of births and deaths, if the duplicates are required by local ordinance, and index them in the manner that the state registrar indexes records under Section 191.032.

(e) The local registrar may, after the first anniversary of the date of registration of a birth, death, or fetal death, destroy the permanent record of the birth, death, or fetal death maintained by the local registrar if:

(1) the local registrar has access to electronic records of births, deaths, and fetal deaths maintained by the vital statistics unit; and

(2) before destroying the records, the local registrar certifies to the state registrar that each record maintained by the local office that is to be destroyed has been verified against the records contained in the unit's database and that each record is included in the database or otherwise accounted for.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1997, 74th Leg., ch. 17, Sec. 2, eff. April 25, 1997.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0539, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 191.027: Review of Certificate By Local Registrar

(a) The local registrar shall carefully examine each birth or death certificate when presented for registration to determine if it is completed as required by this title and by the state registrar's instructions.

(b) If a death certificate is incomplete or unsatisfactory, the local registrar shall call attention to the defects in the return.

(c) If a birth certificate is incomplete, the local registrar shall immediately notify the informant and require the informant to supply the missing information if it can be obtained.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 191.028: Amendment of Certificate

(a) A record of a birth, death, or fetal death accepted by a local registrar for registration may not be changed except as provided by Subsection (b).

(b) An amending certificate may be filed to complete or correct a record that is incomplete or proved by satisfactory evidence to be inaccurate. The amendment must be in a form prescribed by the department. The amendment shall be attached to and become a part of the legal record of the birth, death, or fetal death if the amendment is accepted for filing, except as provided by Section 192.011(b).

(c) Not later than the 30th business day after the date the department receives an amending certificate, the department shall notify the individual of whether the amendment has been accepted for filing.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 14, Sec. 54, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.

Amended by:

Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 758 (S.B. 703), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2009.

Sec. 191.029: Certificates Or Report Sent to State Registrar

On the 10th day of each month, the local registrar shall send to the state registrar:

(1) the original certificates that the local registrar registered during the preceding month; or

(2) a report of no births or deaths on a card provided for that purpose if no births or deaths occurred during the preceding month.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 191.031: Review of Certificates By State Registrar

(a) The state registrar shall carefully examine the certificates received monthly from the local registrars.

(b) The state registrar shall require additional information to make the record complete and satisfactory if necessary.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 191.032: State Records

(a) The state registrar shall arrange, bind, and permanently preserve birth, death, and fetal death certificates in a systematic manner.

(b) The executive commissioner shall adopt rules necessary to implement this section.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0540, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 191.033: Addenda

(a) The state registrar may attach to the original record an addendum that sets out any information received by the state registrar that may contradict the information in a birth, death, or fetal death record required to be maintained in the vital statistics unit.

(b) If the state registrar attaches an addendum to an original record, the state registrar shall instruct the local registration official in whose jurisdiction the birth, death, or fetal death occurred to attach an identical addendum to any duplicate of the record in the official's custody.

(c) In this section, "local registration official" means a county clerk or a person authorized by this title to maintain a duplicate system of records for each birth, death, or fetal death that occurs in the person's jurisdiction.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0541, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 191.034: Notation of Death on Birth Certificate

(a) On receipt of the death certificate of a person whose birth is registered in this state, the state registrar shall conspicuously note the person's date of death on the person's birth certificate.

(b) The state registrar shall notify the county clerk of the county in which the person was born and the local registrar of the registration district in which the person was born of the person's death. On receipt of the notification of death, the county clerk or local registrar shall conspicuously note the person's date of death on the person's birth certificate.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.

Amended by:

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1067 (H.B. 3253), Sec. 1, eff. June 14, 2013.

Sec. 191.036: Spanish Surname Information

(a) The purpose of this section is to:

(1) enable this state to participate in a study being conducted by a group of southwestern states to obtain information about the birth rates and mortality patterns of persons with Spanish surnames; and

(2) implement recommendations made by the National Center for Health Statistics for improved methods of maintaining vital statistics.

(b) In the next official revision of the prescribed forms for birth and fetal death certificates, the department shall include the following questions and instructions:

(1) Is the father of Spanish origin?

(2) If yes, specify Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, etc.

(3) Is the mother of Spanish origin?

(4) If yes, specify Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, etc.

(c) In the next official revision of the prescribed forms for death certificates, the department shall include the following questions and instructions:

(1) Was the decedent of Spanish origin?

(2) If yes, specify Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, etc.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Subchapter C

Sec. 191.051: Certified Copies

(a) Subject to department rules controlling the accessibility of vital records, the state registrar shall supply to a properly qualified applicant, on request, a certified copy of a record, or part of a record, of a birth, death, or fetal death registered under this title.

(b) A certified copy issued under this subsection may be issued only in the form approved by the department.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0542, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 191.052: Certified Copy As Evidence

A copy of a birth, death, or fetal death record registered under this title that is certified by the state registrar is prima facie evidence of the facts stated in the record.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 191.056: Copies Collected By National Agency

(a) The national agency in charge of the collection of vital statistics may obtain, without expense to the state, transcripts of vital records without payment of the fees prescribed by this chapter.

(b) The department may contract with the national agency to have copies of vital records that are filed with the vital statistics unit transcribed for that agency.

(c) The state registrar may act as special agent for the national agency to accept the use of the franking privilege and forms furnished by the national agency.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0543, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 191.057: Records with Addenda

(a) In this section:

(1) "Copy" means a reproduction of a record made by any means.

(2) "Local registration official" means a county clerk or a person authorized by this title to maintain a duplicate system of records for each birth, death, or fetal death that occurs in the person's jurisdiction.

(b) If the vital statistics unit or any local registration official receives an application for a certified copy of a birth, death, or fetal death record to which an addendum has been attached under Section 191.033, the application shall be sent immediately to the state registrar. After examining the application, the original record, and the addendum, the state registrar may refuse to issue a certified copy of the record or part of the record to the applicant.

(c) If the state registrar refuses to issue the certified copy:

(1) the state registrar shall notify the applicant of the refusal and the reason for the refusal not later than the 10th day after the date on which the state registrar receives the application; and

(2) the department shall give the applicant an opportunity for a hearing.

(d) After the hearing, the state registrar shall notify the local officials who have duplicates of the questioned record of the department's final decision. The department may order the officials to issue or refuse to issue certified copies of the record.

(e) A duty imposed on or a power granted to the state registrar under this section may be performed or exercised by a designee of the state registrar.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0544, eff. April 2, 2015.

Subchapter D

Sec. 191.071: Criminal Background Check Required

(a) A person may not access vital records maintained by the department under this chapter and may not access the department's vital records electronic registration system unless the department, or another person acting on behalf of the department, has conducted a fingerprint-based criminal background check, using state and federal databases, on the person in accordance with department policy and the person's record is satisfactory as determined under department policy.

(b) The department may adopt a policy waiving the requirement of a fingerprint-based background check for a person who previously submitted to a fingerprint-based background check as a condition of licensure by a state agency.

Comments

Added by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 837 (S.B. 200), Sec. 5.03, eff. September 1, 2015.

Chapter 192

Subchapter A

Sec. 192.001: Registration Required

The birth of each child born in this state shall be registered.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 192.002: Form of Birth Certificate

(a) The department shall prescribe the form and contents of the birth certificate.

(b) The section of the birth certificate entitled "For Medical and Health Use Only" is not part of the legal birth certificate. Information held by the department under that section of the certificate is confidential. That information may not be released or made public on subpoena or otherwise, except that release may be made for statistical purposes only so that no person, patient, or facility is identified, or to medical personnel of a health care entity, as that term is defined in Subtitle B, Title 3, Occupations Code, or to a faculty member at a medical school, as that term is defined in Section 61.501, Education Code, for statistical or medical research, or to appropriate state or federal agencies for statistical research. The executive commissioner may adopt rules to implement this subsection.

(c) The form must include a space for recording the social security numbers of the mother and father and the signatures of the biological mother and biological father. These social security numbers and signatures are not a part of the legal birth certificate, shall be made available to the agency administering the state's plan under Part D of Title IV of the federal Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. Section 651 et seq.), and may not be used or disseminated for any purpose other than the establishment and the enforcement of child support orders.

(d) The social security numbers of the mother and father recorded on the form shall be made available to the United States Social Security Administration.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 25, Sec. 7; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 14, Sec. 56, eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 69, eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, Sec. 14.785, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Amended by:

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 1067 (H.B. 3253), Sec. 2, eff. June 14, 2013.

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0545, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 192.0021: Heirloom Birth Certificate

(a) The department shall promote and sell copies of an heirloom birth certificate. The department shall solicit donated designs for the certificate from Texas artists and select the best donated designs for the form of the certificate. An heirloom birth certificate must contain the same information as, and have the same effect of, a certified copy of another birth record. The executive commissioner by rule shall prescribe a fee for the issuance of an heirloom birth certificate in an amount that does not exceed $50. The heirloom birth certificate must be printed on high-quality paper with the appearance of parchment not smaller than 11 inches by 14 inches.

(b) The department shall deposit 50 percent of the proceeds from the sale of heirloom birth certificates to the credit of the childhood immunization account and the other 50 percent to the credit of the undedicated portion of the general revenue fund. The childhood immunization account is an account in the general revenue fund. Money in the account may be used only by the department for:

(1) making grants to fund childhood immunizations and related education programs; and

(2) administering this section.

(c) The department may sell an heirloom birth certificate only for an individual born in this state.

Comments

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 941, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 30, 1993.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1265 (H.B. 2101), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0546, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 192.0022: Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth

(a) In this section:

(1) "Stillbirth" means an unintended, intrauterine fetal death occurring in this state after a gestational age of not less than 20 completed weeks.

(2) "Certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth" means a birth certificate issued to record the birth of a stillborn child.

(b) The person who is required to file a fetal death certificate under Section 193.002 shall advise the parent or parents of a stillborn child:

(1) that a parent may, but is not required to, request the preparation of a certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth;

(2) that a parent may obtain a certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth by contacting the vital statistics unit to request the certificate and paying the required fee; and

(3) regarding the way or ways in which a parent may contact the vital statistics unit to request the certificate.

(c) A parent may provide a name for a stillborn child on the request for a certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth. If the requesting parent does not wish to provide a name, the vital statistics unit shall fill in the certificate with the name "baby boy" or "baby girl" and the last name of the parent. The name of the stillborn child provided on or later added by amendment to the certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth shall be the same name as placed on the original or amended fetal death certificate.

(d) A certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth must include the state file number of the corresponding fetal death certificate.

(e) The department shall prescribe the form and content of a certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth and shall specify the information necessary to prepare the certificate.

(f) The department may not use a certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth to calculate live birth statistics.

(g) On issuance of a certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth to a parent who has requested the certificate as provided by this section, the vital statistics unit shall file an exact copy of the certificate with the local registrar of the registration district in which the stillbirth occurred. The local registrar shall file the certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth with the fetal death certificate.

(h) A parent may request the vital statistics unit to issue a certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth without regard to the date on which the fetal death certificate was issued.

(i) The executive commissioner may adopt rules necessary to administer this section.

Comments

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 276 (S.B. 271), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0547, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 192.003: Birth Certificate Filed Or Birth Reported

(a) The physician, midwife, or person acting as a midwife in attendance at a birth shall file the birth certificate with the local registrar of the registration district in which the birth occurs.

(b) If a birth occurs in a hospital or birthing center, the hospital administrator, the birthing center administrator, or a designee of the appropriate administrator may file the birth certificate in lieu of a person listed by Subsection (a).

(c) If there is no physician, midwife, or person acting as a midwife in attendance at a birth and if the birth does not occur in a hospital or birthing center, the following in the order listed shall report the birth to the local registrar:

(1) the father or mother of the child; or

(2) the owner or householder of the premises where the birth occurs.

(d) Except as provided by Subsection (e), a person required to file a birth certificate or report a birth shall file the certificate or make the report not later than the fifth day after the date of the birth.

(e) Based on a parent's religious beliefs, a parent may request that a person required to file a birth certificate or report a birth delay filing the certificate or making the report until the parent contacts the person with the child's name. If a parent does not name the child before the fifth day after the date of the birth due to the parent's religious beliefs, the parent must contact the person required to file the birth certificate or report the birth with the name of the child as soon as the child is named. A person required to file the birth certificate or report the birth who delays filing the certificate or making the report in accordance with the parent's request shall file the certificate or make the report not later than the 15th day after the date of the child's birth.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 30, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 519, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, Sec. 17.01(21), eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 751, Sec. 124, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 81, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 68 (H.B. 1604), Sec. 1, eff. May 17, 2005.

Sec. 192.0031: Information of Birth to School-Age Mother

(a) Notwithstanding Subchapter C, Chapter 552, Government Code, the department shall notify the commissioner of education of each birth to a school-age mother. The commissioner may notify the school district in which a school-age mother resides of each birth to a school-age mother.

(b) The department may not notify the commissioner of a birth to a school-age mother if:

(1) the child died at birth; or

(2) the child was placed for adoption.

(c) A notification under this section must include the name and address of the mother, the father, if the father is of school age and is named on the birth certificate, and the person born. Reports under this section shall be sent at least quarterly.

Comments

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 907, Sec. 6, eff. June 19, 1993. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, Sec. 5.95(101), eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Sec. 192.004: Information Obtained By Local Registrar

(a) The local registrar shall obtain the information necessary to prepare the birth certificate from the person reporting a birth or from another person with the required knowledge if:

(1) the birth is reported under Section 192.003(c); or

(2) a person who files a certificate under Section 192.003(a) or 192.003(b) cannot by diligent inquiry obtain an item of information required for the certificate.

(b) A person from whom a local registrar requests necessary information shall answer correctly to the best of the person's knowledge. On request of the local registrar, a person who makes a statement under this section shall verify the statement by signing it.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 30, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.

Sec. 192.005: Record of Paternity

(a) The items on a birth certificate relating to the child's father shall be completed only if:

(1) the child's mother was married to the father:

(A) at the time of the child's conception;

(B) at the time of the child's birth; or

(C) after the child's birth;

(2) paternity is established by order of a court of competent jurisdiction; or

(3) a valid acknowledgment of paternity executed by the father has been filed with the vital statistics unit as provided by Subchapter D, Chapter 160, Family Code.

(b) Repealed by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 610, Sec. 23, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

(c) A person may apply to the state registrar for the removal of any indication of the absence of paternity of a child who has no presumed father from the person's birth record.

(d) If the items relating to the child's father are not completed on a birth certificate filed with the state registrar, the state registrar shall notify the attorney general.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 25, Sec. 8; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 519, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1993; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 7.42, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 610, Sec. 21, 23, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0548, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 192.0051: Report of Determination of Paternity

(a) A report of each determination of paternity in this state shall be filed with the state registrar.

(b) On a determination of paternity, the petitioner shall provide the clerk of the court in which the decree was granted with the information necessary to prepare the report. The clerk shall:

(1) report the determination on a form or in a manner provided by the department; and

(2) complete the report immediately after the decree becomes final.

(c) On completion of the report, the clerk of the court shall forward to the state registrar the report for each decree that became final in that court.

Comments

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 519, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1993. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 70, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Sec. 192.006: Supplementary Birth Certificates

(a) A supplementary birth certificate may be filed if the person who is the subject of the certificate:

(1) becomes the child of the person's father by the subsequent marriage of the person's parents;

(2) has the person's parentage determined by a court of competent jurisdiction; or

(3) is adopted under the laws of any state.

(b) An application for a supplementary birth certificate may be filed by:

(1) an adult whose status is changed; or

(2) a legal representative of the person whose status is changed.

(c) The state registrar shall require proof of the change in status that the executive commissioner by rule may prescribe.

(d) Supplementary birth certificates and applications for supplementary birth certificates shall be prepared and filed in accordance with department rules.

(e) In accordance with department rules, a supplementary birth certificate may be filed for a person whose parentage has been determined by an acknowledgment of paternity.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 14, Sec. 57, 58, eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 71, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0549, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 192.007: Supplementary Certificates for Child Who Dies Before Adoption

(a) If a child in the process of being adopted in this state dies before the adoption is completed, the persons who attempted to adopt the child may request the state registrar to file supplementary birth and death certificates for the child.

(b) Persons making a request under this section must include with the request:

(1) sufficient information to prove that they attempted to adopt the child and that the child died before the adoption was completed;

(2) a copy of an irrevocable affidavit of relinquishment of parental rights relating to the child;

(3) a copy of the affidavit of the status of the child, if applicable; and

(4) any other information required by the department.

(c) On receipt of the information required by Subsection (b), the state registrar shall complete birth and death certificates as if the child had been adopted by court decree and then died.

(d) In the absence of evidence to the contrary, compliance with this section and the completion of the birth certificate constitute adoption by estoppel.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 192.008: Birth Records of Adopted Person

(a) The supplementary birth certificate of an adopted child must be in the names of the adoptive parents, one of whom must be a female, named as the mother, and the other of whom must be a male, named as the father. This subsection does not prohibit a single individual, male or female, from adopting a child. Copies of the child's birth certificates or birth records may not disclose that the child is adopted.

(b) After a supplementary birth certificate of an adopted child is filed, information disclosed from the record must be from the supplementary certificate.

(c) The executive commissioner shall adopt rules and procedures to ensure that birth records and indexes under the control of the department or local registrars and accessible to the public do not contain information or cross-references through which the confidentiality of adoption placements may be directly or indirectly violated. The rules and procedures may not interfere with the registries established under Subchapter E, Chapter 162, Family Code, or with a court order under this section.

(d) Except as provided by Subsections (e) and (f), only the court that granted the adoption may order access to an original birth certificate and the filed documents on which a supplementary certificate is based.

(e) A person applying for access to an original birth certificate and the filed documents on which the supplementary certificate is based is entitled to know the identity and location of the court that granted the adoption. If that information is not on file, the state registrar shall give the person an affidavit stating that the information is not on file with the state registrar. Any court of competent jurisdiction to which the person presents the affidavit may order the access.

(f) An adult adoptee who is applying for access to the person's original birth certificate and who knows the identity of each parent named on the original birth certificate is entitled to a noncertified copy of the original birth certificate without obtaining a court order.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 7.43, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 29, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 480 (H.B. 240), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0550, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 192.009: Certificate of Adoption, Annulment of Adoption, Or Revocation of Adoption

(a) A certificate of each adoption, annulment of adoption, and revocation of adoption decreed in this state shall be filed with the state registrar.

(b) When a petition for adoption, annulment of adoption, or revocation of adoption is granted, the petitioner shall supply the clerk of the court the information necessary to prepare the certificate. The clerk shall:

(1) prepare the certificate on a form furnished by the department that provides the information prescribed by the department; and

(2) complete the certificate immediately after the decree becomes final.

(c) Not later than the 10th day of each month, the clerk shall forward to the state registrar the certificates that the clerk completed for decrees that became final in the preceding calendar month.

(d) If the department determines that a certificate filed with the state registrar under this section requires correction, the department shall mail the certificate directly to an attorney of record with respect to the petition of adoption, annulment of adoption, or revocation of adoption. The attorney shall return the corrected certificate to the department. If there is no attorney of record, the department shall mail the certificate to the clerk of the court for correction.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1128, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0551, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 192.010: Change of Name

(a) Subject to department rules, an adult whose name is changed by court order, or the legal representative of any person whose name is changed by court order, may request that the state registrar attach an amendment showing the change to the person's original birth record.

(b) The state registrar shall require proof of the change of name that the executive commissioner by rule may prescribe.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 14, Sec. 59, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0552, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 192.011: Amending Birth Certificate

(a) This section applies to an amending birth certificate that is filed under Section 191.028 and that completes or corrects information relating to the person's sex, color, or race.

(b) On the request of the person or the person's legal representative, the state registrar, local registrar, or other person who issues birth certificates shall issue a birth certificate that incorporates the completed or corrected information instead of issuing a copy of the original or supplementary certificate with an amending certificate attached.

(c) The department shall prescribe the form for certificates issued under this section.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 192.012: Record of Acknowledgment of Paternity

(a) If the mother of a child is not married to the father of the child, a person listed in Section 192.003 who is responsible for filing the birth certificate shall:

(1) provide an opportunity for the child's mother and putative father to sign an acknowledgment of paternity as provided by Subchapter D, Chapter 160, Family Code; and

(2) provide oral and written information to the child's mother and putative father about:

(A) establishing paternity, including an explanation of the rights and responsibilities that result from acknowledging paternity; and

(B) the availability of child support services.

(b) The local registrar shall transmit the acknowledgment of paternity to the state registrar.

(c) The state registrar shall record the information contained in the acknowledgment of paternity and transmit the information to the Title IV-D agency.

(d) The Title IV-D agency may use the information contained in the acknowledgment of paternity for any purpose directly connected with providing child support services under Chapter 231, Family Code.

Comments

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 72, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0553, eff. April 2, 2015.

Subchapter B

Sec. 192.021: Delay Less Than One Year

(a) A birth that occurred more than five days but less than one year before the date of an application for registration may be recorded on a birth certificate and submitted for filing to the local registrar of the registration district in which the birth occurred.

(b) The local registrar may require evidence to substantiate the facts of the birth and may require a statement explaining the delay in filing the birth certificate. The local registrar may accept the certificate for filing if the evidence required by the local registrar is submitted.

(c) Registration under this section is subject to department rules.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0554, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 192.022: Delay of One Year Or More: Application Filed with State Registrar

Subject to department rules, an application to file a delayed birth certificate for a birth in this state not registered before the one-year anniversary of the date of birth shall be made to the state registrar.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0555, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 192.023: Delay of More Than One But Less Than Four Years

(a) A birth that occurred at least one year but less than four years before the date of the application for registration shall be recorded on a birth certificate in the form prescribed by the state registrar and submitted to the state registrar for filing.

(b) The state registrar may require evidence to substantiate the facts of the birth and may require a statement explaining the delay in filing the birth certificate. The state registrar may accept the certificate for filing if the evidence required by the state registrar is submitted.

(c) A birth certificate filed under this section shall be marked "Delayed" and must show on its face the date of registration.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 192.024: Delay of Four Years Or More

(a) A birth that occurred four or more years before the date of the application for registration shall be recorded on a form entitled "Delayed Certificate of Birth." The department shall prescribe and furnish the form.

(b) The form shall provide for:

(1) the name and sex of the person whose birth is to be registered;

(2) the place and date of the person's birth;

(3) the names of the person's parents;

(4) the place of birth of each parent;

(5) the date of registration; and

(6) any other information required by the state registrar.

(c) The information on the form must be subscribed and sworn to, before an official authorized to administer oaths, by:

(1) the person whose birth is to be registered; or

(2) the person's parent, legal guardian, or legal representative if the person is incompetent to swear to the information.

(d) The state registrar shall add to a certificate submitted under this section:

(1) a description of each document submitted in support of the delayed registration, including the title of the document or the type of document;

(2) the name and address of the affiant if the document is an affidavit of personal knowledge; and

(3) if the document is a record, or certified copy of a record, of a business entry:

(A) the name and address of the custodian of the record;

(B) the date of the original entry; and

(C) the date of the certified copy.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 192.025: Supporting Documents

(a) The state registrar shall accept an application under Section 192.024 if the applicant's statement of date and place of birth and parentage is established to the state registrar's satisfaction by the evidence required by this section.

(b) The certification of the state registrar shall be added to a certificate accepted for filing under this section.

(c) If the birth occurred at least four years but less than 15 years before the date of the application:

(1) the statement of date and place of birth must be supported by at least two documents, only one of which may be an affidavit of personal knowledge; and

(2) the statement of parentage must be supported by at least one document, which may be a document qualifying for submission under Subdivision (1).

(d) If the birth occurred 15 or more years before the date of the application:

(1) the statement of date and place of birth must be supported by at least three documents, only one of which may be an affidavit of personal knowledge; and

(2) the statement of parentage must be supported by at least one document, which may be a document qualifying for submission under Subdivision (1).

(e) A document accepted as evidence under this section, other than an affidavit of personal knowledge, must be at least five years old. A copy or abstract of the document may be accepted if certified as true and correct by the custodian of the document.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 192.026: Rejection Or Return of Application

(a) The state registrar may not register a delayed birth certificate if:

(1) the applicant does not submit the documentary evidence required by Section 192.025; or

(2) the state registrar finds reason to question the validity or adequacy of the certificate or the documentary evidence.

(b) On the state registrar's refusal to register a certificate under Subsection (a), the state registrar shall:

(1) furnish the applicant a statement of the reasons for the refusal; and

(2) advise the applicant of the right to appeal to the statutory probate court or district court in the county in which the birth occurred, or in the statutory probate court or district court in the county in which the person resides, as provided by Section 192.027.

(c) If an application to file a delayed birth certificate is not actively pursued, the state registrar shall:

(1) return the application, supporting evidence, and any related instruments to the applicant; or

(2) make another disposition of those documents that the state registrar considers appropriate.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1093 (H.B. 2794), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 192.027: Registration By Judicial Order

(a) If a delayed birth certificate is not accepted for registration by the state registrar, the person may file a petition in the statutory probate court or district court in the county in which the birth occurred, or in the statutory probate court or district court in the county in which the person resides, for an order establishing a record of the person's date of birth, place of birth, and parentage.

(b) The petition must include:

(1) the petitioner's:

(A) full name;

(B) place of residence;

(C) date of birth;

(D) city or town, if applicable, and county of birth;

(E) race or ethnicity; and

(F) gender;

(2) the full name and county of birth of the petitioner's father;

(3) the full name, including any maiden name, and county of birth of the petitioner's mother;

(4) whether the petitioner has been the subject of a final felony conviction;

(5) whether the petitioner is subject to the registration requirements of Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure; and

(6) a legible and complete set of the petitioner's fingerprints on a fingerprint card format acceptable to the Department of Public Safety and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

(c) The petition must be accompanied by:

(1) a statement of the state registrar issued under Section 192.026(b)(1); and

(2) the documentary evidence submitted to the state registrar in support of the application.

(d) If, after a hearing, the court finds from the evidence submitted to the registrar and any other relevant evidence presented by the person that the person was born in this state, the court shall:

(1) make findings as to the person's date and place of birth and parentage;

(2) make other findings required by the case; and

(3) enter an order on a form prescribed and furnished by the department to establish a record of birth.

(e) An order under this section must include:

(1) the birth data to be registered;

(2) a description of the evidence presented; and

(3) the date of the court's action.

(f) Not later than the seventh day after the date on which the order is entered, the clerk of the court shall forward the order to the state registrar. The state registrar shall register the order, which is the record of birth.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1093 (H.B. 2794), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 192.028: Appointment of Attorney Ad Litem

A judge of a statutory probate court or district court may appoint an attorney ad litem in a proceeding under Section 192.027 to represent the interests of the person seeking the delayed birth certificate.

Comments

Added by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1093 (H.B. 2794), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2015.

Sec. 192.029: Refusal to Sign Affidavit of Personal Knowledge

(a) A parent of a person who is seeking a delayed birth certificate under this subchapter shall sign an affidavit of personal knowledge acknowledging that the individual is the parent of the person seeking the delayed birth certificate if:

(1) the person seeking a delayed birth certificate, a managing conservator or guardian of the person, or, if the person is a minor, another person with custody of the minor has requested the person's parent to sign the affidavit of personal knowledge; and

(2) the parent's affidavit of personal knowledge is necessary for the issuance of the birth certificate because the person seeking the delayed birth certificate is unable to provide sufficient alternative documentary evidence as required by Section 192.025.

(b) A parent shall sign an affidavit as described by Subsection (a) not later than the 30th day after the date a request is made as described by Subsection (a)(1).

(c) A person who is a parent of a person seeking a delayed birth certificate and who fails to sign an affidavit of personal knowledge as required by this section:

(1) commits an offense punishable as a Class B misdemeanor if the request under Subsection (a)(1) is made on or after the fourth anniversary of the date of birth but before the 15th anniversary of the date of birth; or

(2) commits an offense punishable as a Class A misdemeanor if the request under Subsection (a)(1) is made on or after the 15th anniversary of the date of birth.

Comments

Added by Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1093 (H.B. 2794), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2015.

Chapter 193

Sec. 193.001: Form of Certificate

(a) The department shall prescribe the form and contents of death certificates and fetal death certificates.

(a-1) In prescribing each form under Subsection (a), the department shall ensure that the form instructs the person required to file the death certificate or fetal death certificate to:

(1) enter the date in the standard order of "month, day, year"; and

(2) spell out the name of the month when entering the date.

(b) The social security number shall be recorded on the death certificate and on any other records related to the death.

(c) The department shall require death certificates and fetal death certificates to include the name of the place and the specific number of the plot, crypt, lawn crypt, or niche in which a decedent's remains will be interred or, if the remains will not be interred, the place and manner of other disposition.

(d) The department and each local registrar shall make the information provided under Subsection (c) available to the public and may collect a fee in an amount prescribed under Section 191.0045 for providing that service.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 502, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 556, Sec. 73, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 557 (H.B. 2940), Sec. 1, eff. June 17, 2011.

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0556, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 193.002: Person Required to File

The person in charge of interment or in charge of removal of a body from a registration district for disposition shall:

(1) obtain and file the death certificate or fetal death certificate;

(2) enter on the certificate the information relating to disposition of the body;

(3) sign the certificate; and

(4) file the certificate electronically as specified by the state registrar.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 302 (H.B. 1739), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.

Sec. 193.003: Time and Place for Filing Death Certificate

(a) Not later than the 10th day after the date of a death that occurs in this state, a death certificate shall be filed with the local registrar of the registration district in which:

(1) the death occurs; or

(2) the body is found, if the place of death is not known.

(b) Subject to department rules, a certificate of a fetal death that occurs in this state shall be filed with the local registrar of the registration district in which:

(1) the fetal death occurs; or

(2) the body is found, if the place of fetal death is not known.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0557, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 193.004: Personal and Medical Information

(a) The person required to file a death certificate shall obtain the required personal information from a competent person with knowledge of the facts.

(b) The person required to file a fetal death certificate shall obtain the required personal information from the person best qualified to furnish the information.

(c) A person required to obtain information under this section shall obtain the information over the signature of the person who furnishes the information.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1425, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Sec. 193.0041: Disciplinary Action Prohibited

A state agency that licenses a person required to file a death certificate under this chapter may not take disciplinary action against the person for failure to timely file the certificate if the person supplies written documentation that the person has made a good faith effort to file the certificate within the time required by Section 193.003(a) and the failure to timely file the certificate results from circumstances beyond the person's control.

Comments

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 636 (H.B. 755), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.

Sec. 193.005: Personal Information

(a) A person required to file a death certificate or fetal death certificate shall obtain the required medical certification from the decedent's attending physician, or, subject to Subsection (a-1), a physician assistant or advanced practice registered nurse of the decedent, if the death occurred under the care of the person in connection with the treatment of the condition or disease process that contributed to the death.

(a-1) A physician assistant or advanced practice registered nurse may only complete the medical certification for a death certificate or fetal death certificate under this section if:

(1) a patient who has executed a written certification of a terminal illness has elected to receive hospice care and is receiving hospice services, as defined under Chapter 142, from a qualified hospice provider; or

(2) a patient is receiving palliative care.

(b) The attending physician, physician assistant, or advanced practice registered nurse shall complete the medical certification not later than five days after receiving the death certificate.

(c) An associate physician, the chief medical officer of the institution where the death occurred, or the physician who performed an autopsy on the decedent may complete the medical certification if:

(1) the attending physician, the physician assistant, and the advanced practice registered nurse described by Subsection (a) are unavailable;

(2) the attending physician, the physician assistant, or the advanced practice registered nurse described by Subsection (a) approves; and

(3) the person completing the medical certification has access to the medical history of the case and the death is due to natural causes.

(d) If a death or fetal death occurs without medical attendance or is otherwise subject to Chapter 49, Code of Criminal Procedure, the person required to file the death or fetal death certificate shall notify the appropriate authority of the death.

(e) A person conducting an inquest required by Chapter 49, Code of Criminal Procedure, shall:

(1) complete the medical certification not later than five days after receiving the death or fetal death certificate; and

(2) state on the medical certification the disease that caused the death or, if the death was from external causes, the means of death and whether the death was probably accidental, suicidal, or homicidal, and any other information required by the state registrar to properly classify the death.

(f) If the identity of the decedent is unknown, the person conducting the inquest shall obtain and forward to the Department of Public Safety:

(1) the decedent's fingerprints;

(2) information concerning the decedent's hair color, eye color, height, weight, deformities, and tattoo marks; and

(3) other facts required for assistance in identifying the decedent.

(g) If the medical certification cannot be completed in a timely manner, the person required to complete the medical certification shall give the funeral director or the person acting as funeral director notice of the reason for the delay. Final disposition of the body may not be made unless specifically authorized by the person responsible for completing the medical certification.

(h) The person completing the medical certification shall submit the information and attest to its validity using an electronic process approved by the state registrar.

(i) On receipt of autopsy results or other information that would change the information in the medical certification on the death certificate, the appropriate certifier shall immediately report the change in a manner prescribed by the department to amend the death certificate.

(j) The death certificate of a decedent who was an inmate of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice at the time of death and who was lawfully executed shall classify the manner of death as death caused by judicially ordered execution.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1425, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 285 (H.B. 93), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 302 (H.B. 1739), Sec. 2, eff. September 1, 2007.

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 412 (S.B. 919), Sec. 1, eff. June 1, 2017.

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 509 (H.B. 2950), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2017.

Sec. 193.006: Information Relating to Veterans

(a) This section applies to the death certificate of a person who:

(1) served in a war, campaign, or expedition of the United States, the Confederate States of America, or the Republic of Texas;

(2) was the wife or widow of a person who served in a war, campaign, or expedition of the United States, the Confederate States of America, or the Republic of Texas; or

(3) at the time of death was in the service of the United States.

(b) The funeral director or the person in charge of the disposition of the body shall supply on the reverse side of the death certificate:

(1) the organization in which service was rendered;

(2) the serial number on the discharge papers or the adjusted service certificate; and

(3) the name and mailing address of the decedent's next of kin or next friend.

(c) When the death certificate is filed locally, the local registrar shall immediately notify the nearest congressionally chartered veteran organizations.

(d) When the death certificate is filed with the vital statistics unit, the state registrar shall notify the Texas Veterans Commission.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 260, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0558, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 193.007: Delayed Registration of Death

(a) A death that occurred more than 10 days but less than one year before the date of an application for registration of death may be recorded on a death certificate and submitted for filing with the local registrar of the registration district in which the death occurred.

(b) To file a record of a death that occurred in this state but was not registered within one year of the date of death, a person shall submit a record of the death to the county probate court in the county in which the death occurred.

(c) The department shall furnish a form for filing records under this section. Records submitted under this section must be on the form furnished by the department. The state registrar may accept a certificate that is verified as provided by this section.

(d) The certificate must be supported by the affidavit of:

(1) the physician last in attendance on the decedent or the funeral director who buried the body; or

(2) if the affidavit of the physician or funeral director cannot be obtained:

(A) any person who was acquainted with the facts surrounding the death when the death occurred; and

(B) another person who was acquainted with the facts surrounding the death but who is not related to the decedent by consanguinity or affinity, as determined under Chapter 573, Government Code.

(e) For each application under this section, the court shall collect a $1 fee. The court retains 50 cents of the fee and the remaining 50 cents is allocated to the clerk of the court for recording the certificate.

(f) Not later than the seventh day after the date on which a certificate is accepted and ordered filed by a court under this section, the clerk of the court shall forward to the vital statistics unit:

(1) the certificate; and

(2) an order from the court that the state registrar accept the certificate.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 561, Sec. 29, eff. Aug. 26, 1991; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, Sec. 5.95(27), eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1425, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0559, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 193.008: Burial-Transit Permit

(a) A burial-transit permit issued under the law and rules of a place outside of this state in which a death or fetal death occurred authorizes the transportation of the body in this state. A cemetery or crematory shall accept the permit as authorization for burial, cremation, or other disposal of the body in this state.

(b) The department shall prescribe the form and contents of the burial-transit permit.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 193.009: Burial Records

(a) The person in charge of premises on which interments are made shall keep a record of the bodies interred or otherwise disposed of on the premises.

(b) The records must include for each decedent:

(1) the decedent's name;

(2) the place of death;

(3) the date of interment or disposal;

(4) the name and address of the funeral director; and

(5) any other information required by the state registrar.

(c) The records are open to official inspection at all times.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 193.010: Certificate of Death By Catastrophe

(a) In this section, "catastrophe" means the occurrence of a substantial force that causes widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property and from which it is not reasonable to assume that a person could survive, including:

(1) flood, earthquake, tornado, or other natural disaster;

(2) explosion, fire, or destruction of a building;

(3) the crash of a motor vehicle, train, or airplane involving more than one person; or

(4) the overtaking of more than one person by fire, water, earth, or other substance.

(b) A local registrar shall issue and file a certificate of death by catastrophe for a person if:

(1) an affidavit is submitted to the registrar stating that:

(A) the person was last reasonably believed to be at the scene of a catastrophe;

(B) at least 10 days have passed since the day of the catastrophe;

(C) a diligent search has been made by a governmental authority and the authority has concluded the search for the person;

(D) the catastrophe was not intentionally caused by the person; and

(E) the affiant:

(i) does not know whether the person is alive or dead;

(ii) has not received any information about the person's status since the catastrophe and, barring the person's death, would have received information about the person's status;

(iii) is not aware of any custody or guardianship issues involving the person, if the person is a minor or a person for whom a guardian has been appointed; and

(iv) is not aware of any reasonable motive for the person to disappear or for another person to abduct the person; and

(2) a written statement signed by an agent of the governmental authority that conducts a search under Subdivision (1)(C) is submitted to the registrar stating that the governmental authority conducted and concluded a search for the person.

(c) The department may issue a certificate of death by catastrophe for a minor or a person for whom a guardian has been appointed who is the subject of a custody or guardianship dispute only if all parties to the dispute submit an affidavit under Subsection (b).

(d) An insurer shall accept as proof of death of an insured a certificate of death by catastrophe issued under this section.

Comments

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1098, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Sec. 193.011: Memorandum of Understanding on Suicide Data

(a) In this section, "authorized entity" means a medical examiner, a local registrar, a local health authority, a local mental health authority, a community mental health center, a mental health center that acts as a collection agent for the suicide data reported by community mental health centers, or any other political subdivision of this state.

(b) An authorized entity may enter into a memorandum of understanding with another authorized entity to share suicide data that does not name a deceased individual. The shared data may include:

(1) the deceased individual's date of birth, race or national origin, gender, and zip code of residence;

(2) any school or college the deceased individual was attending at the time of death;

(3) the suicide method used by the deceased individual;

(4) the deceased individual's status as a veteran or member of the armed services; and

(5) the date of the deceased individual's death.

(c) The suicide data an authorized entity receives or provides under Subsection (b) is not confidential.

(d) An authorized entity that receives suicide data under a memorandum of understanding authorized by this section may periodically release suicide data that does not name a deceased individual to an agency or organization with recognized expertise in suicide prevention. The agency or organization may use suicide data received by the agency or organization under this subsection only for suicide prevention purposes.

(e) An authorized entity or an employee or agent of an authorized entity is not civilly or criminally liable for receiving or providing suicide data that does not name a deceased individual and that may be shared under a memorandum of understanding authorized by this section.

(f) This section does not prohibit the sharing of data as authorized by other law.

Comments

Added by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., Ch. 100 (H.B. 1067), Sec. 2, eff. May 23, 2009.

Chapter 194

Sec. 194.001: Report of Marriage

(a) The county clerk shall file with the vital statistics unit a copy of each completed marriage license application and a copy of any affidavit of an absent applicant submitted with an application. The clerk shall file the copies not later than the 90th day after the date of the application. The clerk may not collect a fee for filing the copies.

(b) The county clerk shall file with the vital statistics unit a copy of each declaration of informal marriage executed under Section 2.402, Family Code. The clerk shall file the copy not later than the 90th day after the date on which the declaration is executed.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Amended by:

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 650 (H.B. 869), Sec. 5, eff. September 1, 2013.

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0560, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 194.0011: Marriage License Applications

(a) The executive commissioner by rule shall prescribe the format and content of the department form used for the marriage license application. The form must:

(1) require identification of the county in which the application is submitted; and

(2) allow, but may not require, the name of the county clerk to appear on the application.

(b) The vital statistics unit shall print and distribute the department forms to each county clerk throughout the state.

(c) The department form shall replace locally adopted forms.

(d) A county clerk may reproduce the department form locally.

Comments

Added by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 96, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0561, eff. April 2, 2015.

Acts 2017, 85th Leg., R.S., Ch. 695 (H.B. 555), Sec. 2, eff. June 12, 2017.

Sec. 194.002: Report of Divorce Or Annulment

(a) The department shall prescribe a form for reporting divorces and annulments of marriage. The form must require the following information:

(1) each party's:

(A) full name;

(B) usual residence;

(C) age;

(D) place of birth;

(E) color or race; and

(F) number of children;

(2) the date and place of the parties' marriage;

(3) the date the divorce or annulment of marriage was granted; and

(4) the court and the style and docket number of the case in which the divorce or annulment of marriage was granted.

(b) The vital statistics unit shall furnish sufficient copies of the form to each district clerk.

(c) When an attorney presents a final judgment for a divorce or annulment of marriage to a court for a final decree, the attorney shall:

(1) enter on the form the information required under Subsection (a); and

(2) submit the report to the district clerk with the final judgment.

(d) Not later than the ninth day of each month, each district clerk shall file with the vital statistics unit a completed report for each divorce or annulment of marriage granted in the district court during the preceding calendar month. If a report does not include the information required by Subsection (a)(3) or (4), the clerk must complete that information on the report before the clerk files the report with the unit.

(e) For each report that a district clerk files with the vital statistics unit under this section, the clerk may collect a $1 fee as costs in the case in which the divorce or annulment of marriage is granted.

(f) If the department determines that a report filed with the department under this section requires correction, the department shall mail the report form directly to an attorney of record with respect to the divorce or annulment of marriage. The attorney shall return the corrected report form to the department. If there is no attorney of record, the department shall mail the report form to the district clerk for correction.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1128, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 186 (H.B. 723), Sec. 1, eff. May 27, 2005.

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0562, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 194.003: State Index

(a) The vital statistics unit shall maintain a statewide alphabetical index, under the names of both parties, of each marriage license application or declaration of informal marriage. The statewide index does not replace the indexes required in each county.

(b) The vital statistics unit shall maintain a statewide alphabetical index, under the names of both parties, of each report of divorce or annulment of marriage.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0563, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 194.004: Release of Information

(a) The vital statistics unit shall furnish on request any information it has on record relating to any marriage, divorce, or annulment of marriage.

(b) The vital statistics unit may not issue:

(1) a certificate or a certified copy of information relating to a marriage; or

(2) a certified copy of a report of divorce or annulment of marriage.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 14, Sec. 61, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0564, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 194.005: Heirloom Wedding Anniversary Certificate

(a) The department shall promote the sale of an heirloom wedding anniversary certificate. The department shall solicit donated designs for the certificate from Texas artists and select the best donated designs for the form of the certificate.

(b) The department shall collect a $50 fee for the issuance of an heirloom wedding anniversary certificate.

(c) The executive commissioner shall adopt rules designating certain milestone wedding anniversary dates and shall design and promote heirloom wedding anniversary certificates celebrating those anniversary dates.

(d) The department shall create an heirloom wedding anniversary certificate ordering system that includes printed order forms available through the department and an online ordering system.

(e) An heirloom wedding anniversary certificate produced by the department under this section must be printed on parchment paper and be not smaller than 11 inches by 14 inches in size.

(f) An heirloom wedding anniversary certificate produced by the department under this section is not a marriage license under this chapter or Chapter 2, Family Code, and does not establish and may not be used to establish a marriage relationship.

(g) The department shall deposit proceeds it receives from the issuance of heirloom wedding anniversary certificates to the credit of the childhood immunization account. The childhood immunization account is an account in the general revenue fund. Money in the account may be used only by the department for:

(1) making grants to fund childhood immunizations and related education programs; and

(2) administering this section.

Comments

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1264 (H.B. 2100), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0565, eff. April 2, 2015.

Chapter 195

Sec. 195.001: Enforcement of Title; Reports By Local Registrar

(a) The local registrar in each local registration district shall enforce this title under the supervision and direction of the state registrar.

(b) A local registrar shall report immediately to the state registrar a violation of this title of which the local registrar has knowledge by observation, by complaint of another person, or by other means.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 195.002: Supervision and Investigation By State Registrar

(a) The state registrar shall execute this title throughout the state. To ensure uniform compliance with this title, the state registrar has supervisory power over local registrars, deputy registrars, and subregistrars.

(b) The state registrar or the state registrar's representative may investigate cases of irregularity or violations of law. On request, any other registrar shall aid in the investigation.

(c) If the state registrar considers it necessary, the state registrar shall report a violation of this title to the appropriate district or county attorney for prosecution. The report must include a statement of the facts and circumstances. The district or county attorney shall immediately initiate and promptly follow up the necessary court proceedings against the person or corporation responsible for the alleged violation.

(d) On the request of the state registrar, the attorney general shall assist in enforcing this title.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 195.003: False Records

(a) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly makes a false statement or directs another person to make a false statement in:

(1) a certificate, record, or report required under this title;

(2) an application for an amendment of a certificate, record, or report required under this title;

(3) an application for a delayed birth certificate or delayed death certificate; or

(4) an application for a certified copy of a vital record.

(b) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly supplies false information, or intentionally or knowingly creates a false record, or directs another person to supply false information or create a false record, for use in the preparation of a certificate, record, report, or amendment under this title.

(c) A person commits an offense if the person, without lawful authority and with intent to deceive, makes, counterfeits, alters, amends, or mutilates or directs another person to make, counterfeit, alter, amend, or mutilate:

(1) a certificate, record, or report required under this title; or

(2) a certified copy of a certificate, record, or report required under this title.

(d) A person commits an offense if the person, for purposes of deception, intentionally or knowingly obtains, possesses, uses, sells, or furnishes, or attempts or directs another person to attempt to obtain, possess, use, sell, or furnish a certificate, record, or report required under this title, or a certified copy of a certificate, record, or report required under this title, if the document:

(1) is made, counterfeited, altered, amended, or mutilated without lawful authority and with intent to deceive;

(2) is false in whole or in part; or

(3) relates to the birth of another individual.

(e) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly fraudulently identifies himself or herself to obtain or return registration forms, certificates, or any other forms required under this title.

(f) An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree.

(g) In this section, "person" means an individual, corporation, or association.

(h) If a person is convicted of an offense under this section, the court shall order as a condition of probation that the person cannot obtain a certificate, record, or report to which this section applies or practice midwifery, and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shall require as a condition of parole that the person cannot obtain a certificate, record, or report to which this section applies or practice midwifery.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 15, Sec. 5.15, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.

Sec. 195.004: Failure to Perform Duty

(a) A person commits an offense if the person refuses or fails to furnish correctly any information in the person's possession affecting a certificate or record required under this title.

(b) A person commits an offense if the person fails, neglects, or refuses to fill out a birth or death certificate and to file the certificate with the local registrar or deliver it on request to the person with the duty to file it, as required by this title.

(c) A local registrar, deputy registrar, or subregistrar commits an offense if that person fails, neglects, or refuses to perform a duty under this title or under instructions and directions of the state registrar given under this title.

(d) Except as provided by Subsection (d-1), an offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.

(d-1) An offense under this section for failure to perform a duty required by Section 192.003 is a Class A misdemeanor.

(e) In this section, "person" means an individual, corporation, or association.

Comments

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Amended by:

Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 222 (H.B. 253), Sec. 3, eff. September 1, 2011.

Sec. 195.005: Disclosure of Confidential Information

(a) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly violates Section 192.002(b), knowingly induces or causes another to violate that section, or knowingly fails to comply with a rule adopted under that section.

(b) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.

Comments

Added by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 14, Sec. 62, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.