Panel embraces bill to close Maine records

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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A bill to restrict the release of Mainers’ birth, marriage and death records has received a legislative committee’s unanimous endorsement, enhancing its chances of passage in the House and Senate.

The bill before lawmakers would limit release of those records to the person on the document and that person’s spouse or domestic partner, parents or guardians, descendants and designated agent or attorney.

The law now allows release of those vital records to anyone who asks for them. Supporters say the law needs to be tightened up to prevent fraud and identity theft based on those records.

The bill would allow release of those records after 100 years.

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It has drawn opposition from genealogists and freedom of access advocates.

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