Section 33. The state registrar shall establish, maintain and operate a centralized, automated database for the system of vital records and statistics, subject to appropriation. The state registrar shall make such automated database available to town clerks who shall use it to (i) record all births and deaths by city or town of occurrence and all marriages by city or town that issued the license; and (ii) issue certified copies of vital records.
All certified copies issued from the database shall be identical in size and format and shall have security features that deter alteration, counterfeiting, duplication or simulation of vital records and shall meet applicable federal and state standards established for this purpose. When issuing certified copies, the state registrar and town clerks shall comply with all applicable restrictions of state and federal law. The fee for a certified copy of a vital record issued by a town clerk from the database shall be uniform throughout the commonwealth, irrespective of where the record was originally recorded.
The database shall have the capacity for authorized users to enter information required for: (i) standard certificates of live birth and as required by the commissioner for administrative, research and statistical purposes under section 24B of chapter 111; (ii) acknowledgments of paternity; (iii) standard certificates of death; and (iv) fetal death reports. The database shall have the capacity for the chief medical examiner to enter information required for a medical examiner’s certificate of death and for licensed health professionals and licensed funeral directors to enter information required for standard certificates of death. The database shall also have the capacity for courts in the commonwealth to enter information required for amendment of birth records following adjudications of paternity under chapter 209C and adoptions under chapter 210. The database shall have the capacity to enter, verify and hold electronic signatures.
Town clerks shall be responsible for the maintenance and preservation of original paper records until such time as originals are transferred to the state registrar. The state registrar shall be responsible for maintenance and preservation of original paper records until such time as bound volumes of original birth, marriage and death records are transferred to the state archivist.