Clahchischilliage sponsors legislation to fund vital records

Proposed legislation is a response to increased demand caused by the Real ID Act

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
  • New Mexico began issuing Real ID Act compliant driver's licenses in November 2016.
State Rep. Sharon Clahchischilliage

FARMINGTON — Changes in the requirements to get a driver's license in New Mexico have created an increased demand for vital records like birth statistics, according to state Rep. Sharon Clahchischilliage, R-Kirtland.

Clahchischilliage has sponsored legislation to increase fees for vital records. The legislative session starts Tuesday in Santa Fe.

"Vital statistics has been trying to respond to an inordinate number of requests," she said.

She said the New Mexico Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics needs more money to be able to process the increased number of requests for records like birth certificates.

In November 2016, the state began issuing driver's licenses and identification cards that comply with the 2005 federal Real ID Act. The new driver's licenses require people to bring one proof of identification number, one proof of identity and two proofs of New Mexico residency. The documents include Social Security cards, W-2 forms, pay stubs and insurance and utility bills.

Clahchischilliage said a lot of minorities have struggled with the new requirements.

Because many of the older Native Americans were not born in hospitals, they do not have birth certificates. Clahchischilliage has spearheaded an effort to help people get birth certificates. This effort included several events for people to apply for delayed birth certificates.

In addition to people filing for delayed birth certificates, the New Mexico Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics has also seen a large increase in the number of people amending their birth certificates to ensure their name matches the name used on other forms of identification required by the state MVD.

If her legislation was to pass copies of birth certificates, revisions to vital records or establishment of delayed record fees would increase from $10 to $15. Copies of spontaneous fetal death records or certificates of still birth would increase from $5 to $10. Copies of death certificates would also increase from $5 to $10.

In addition to increasing the fees, her legislation would change how the revenue is distributed. 

Currently, about 60 percent of the revenue from the vital records fees goes to the daycare fund and the remainder of the revenue is placed in the general fund. Clahchischilliage proposes placing 70 percent of the revenue in a vital records fund to support operations, modernization and automation of the bureau. The remaining 30 percent would go to the daycare fund.

"It's a very, very important piece of legislation in response to the Real ID mandate," Clahchischilliage said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at