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Public Record Update Newsletter © November 2009
Public Record Update
November, 2009

Pennsylvania Fee Increase for Recordings and Civil Actions

House Bill 1607, signed by Pennsylvania Governor Rendell on October 9, 2009, amended Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedures) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. Now known as ACT 49, this law adds an additional $13.50 to a number of document fees. The increase is added specifically to all documents that currently are assessed an Access to Justice (Judicial Computer System) JCS fee of $10.00. As of December 8, 2009, the new fee will be $23.50, rather than $10.00, on all documents covered per the original law for the JCS portion.  
 
In simple English, the added fee affects all recorded Deeds, Mortgages; Mortgage Assignments; Mortgage Releases; Mortgage Satisfaction Pieces; Installment Sales Agreements; Easements; and Rights of Way.  
 
Also, the JCS fee is currently part of the fee charged on filing certain civil court actions and appeals. Thus, the court costs associated with a number of filings will also increase $13.50.
 
The fee increase does not affect record searches or copy fees. A copy of the bill can be found at www.legis.state.pa.us.

Kansas and Hawaii Courts Facing Closure Days
In a letter to court employees circulated in early November, Kansas Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Davis warned that KS state courts will have to close as much as 6 weeks from February through June if the Legislature fails to restore $8 million in budget cuts. Staff would be placed on unpaid leave. Since the letter was released, there has been talk of closing the courts for only 12 days, providing changes are implemented to meet the shortfall. Earlier this year, 18 Kansas counties cut back on their court hours open to the public. See www.kscourts.org/

In October, the Supreme Court of Hawaii announced a 2-day per month furlough for all court employees, with the exception of juvenile detention facilities. A calendar of the closed days from November through June 2010 is posted on the web at www.courts.state.hi.us/.
 
The court closures in Kansas and Hawaii follow the example in California, whose court system is already operating on a furlough schedule that closes all state courts the third Wednesday of each month.

Idaho Driver, Vehicle, and Crash Report Record Fees to Increase
As of January 1, 2009, the fee for many motor vehicle related records will increase in Idaho. The fee for a paper copy of a driving record and the fee for obtaining a hard copy of a title, lien, or registration record will increase from $4.00 to $7.00. Certification will be an additional $14.00, an increase from $8.00. The fee for an electronic driving record will increase from $6.00 to $9.00. The fee ID drivers pay to obtain their own records online will increase from $6.24 to $9.56 per record. Also affected is the fee to obtain an accident report; the fee increases from $4.00 to $7.00 per report.
 
There are a number of other services that will have fee increases. See a complete list at www.itd.idaho.gov/dmv/importantnotices.htm.  
 
Be aware that the Idaho Driver Services Department and Access Idaho (which processes the online records) both refer to driving records as Driver License Records and refer to records related to vehicle title or registration as MVRs.

Ohio Vital Records
Effective October 16, 2009, the cost of obtaining a certified copy of a birth or death record from the Ohio Office of Vital Statistics increased from $16.50 to $21.50 per record.
 
Note that the Office of Vital Statistics does not issue marriage licenses or divorce decrees - they are issued by the probate court or clerk of courts. But the state office maintains an index with limited information on the abstracts of marriages and divorces that occurred in Ohio from January 1, 1954 to present, and will perform a search of years for $3.00 per last name. The search can be used to locate actual licenses or decrees from the courts.

State and Fed Conference on Criminal Records
On December 15 and 16, a forum for state criminal record repositories, courts, and other interested parties will be held in San Antonio. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Improvement Amendments Act (NIAA) Conference is the co-sponsored by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, and SEARCH. This invitation-only conference is intended for the agencies responsible for implementing provisions of the NICS Improvement Act of 2007 (NIAA). NICS background checks are conducted when for transfers of firearms to non-licensed individuals.
 
For more information about this conference and its agenda, check the SEARCH web calendar at www.search.org/calendar/.

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