Texas Health and Safety Code

As effective September 1, 2019

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.