Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed Senate Bill 361 into law today, amending a 1953 Vital Statistics Law (P.L. 304, No. 66) to finally provide for public access to Pennsylvania birth and death certificates 105 years after the date of birth or 50 years after the date of death. The historic birth and death records (currently birth records from 1906 and 1907 and death records from 1906 to 1961) will be maintained by the State Archives. Pre-1906 birth and death records are already open and available at the county level. The amended Vital Records act will go into effect in 60 days (February 14, 2012).
This has been a long drawn-out battle for public access to historic PA vital records, led in large part in recent years by a grassroots organization formed expressly for this purpose - People for Better Pennsylvania Historical Records Access (PaHR-Access). I would like to say a BIG thank you to everyone who worked so tirelessly to achieve this important milestone.