Texas Health and Safety Code

As effective 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.