SB 983

84(R) - 2015
Senate State Affairs
Senate State Affairs

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Positive
  • Neutral
  • Neutral


Paul Bettencourt


Van Taylor

Bill Caption

Relating to restrictions on the assessment of the fee charged for issuance of certain birth records.

Fiscal Notes

No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.

The bill would amend the Health and Safety Code relating to restrictions on the assessment of the fee charged for issuance of certain birth records. The bill would require that a certified copy of a birth record be issued without a fee to an applicant who appears in person to obtain the record and states that it is for the purpose of obtaining an election identification certificate.A local registrar or county clerk would be entitled to a payment from the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) in the amount of any currently allowable fees. DSHS indicates that provisions of the bill would not have a significant fiscal impact. 

Bill Analysis

05/22/2015 update:

No changes were made to this bill. The second chamber sponsor is Representative Schofield.

First chamber recommendation:

SB 983 would allow a person to obtain a certified copy of their birth certificate at no cost for the purposes of having an eligible form of identification in order to comply with voter identification requirements if the person does not have any of the other eligible forms of identification. 

Vote Recommendation Notes

The right to vote is considered sacred in our nation, as is the integrity of the ballot. Texas has taken measures to maintain the integrity of the ballot by ensuring that people who cast votes are who they say they are and are in fact eligible to vote. Some have raised objections that voter identification laws discriminate against people who do not have an eligible form of identification and that the cost of compliance amounts to a poll tax. This legislation addresses that concern by providing a cost free method for a person to obtain a necessary document for the purposes of voter identification in the extraordinarily rare circumstance in which a citizen lacks any of the other eligible documents. 

We support his legislation on the grounds of personal responsibility by providing a way for a lawfully eligible voter to cast their ballot when they might otherwise be barred from doing so for lack of proper identification.