Secret Birthday Bill in Texas

I have great respect for our elected officials — even the ones I didn’t vote. That said, I have to question whether Cindy Burkett, a Republican in the Texas Legislature, is doing her utmost to look out for her constituents by proposing a Secret Birthday Bill.

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House Bill 2766 was filed, per columnist Bud Kennedy, in response to a request from the city of Mesquite, TX. Apparently a stalking suspect tried to access women’s birthdays from public records…so they asked Burkett to address the legality of public workers disclosing birth dates.

I used to write about identity theft, so I recognize the use of birthdays in public records is a concern. Nevertheless, Kennedy reports, “As written, the bill would make a schoolroom birthday party a crime with a fine of up to $1,000.”

Fortunately, Kennedy appears to be taking creative license. There’s nothing in the available text of the bill mentioning schoolroom birthday parties or any fines. In fact, the law seems to be looking to rid county clerk officers of liability for disclosing a birthday that is already in the public record. In this litigious time that makes sense.

Making birthdays secret? I would never vote for that. Giving public officials a little more security when they’re doing their job? I could understand voting “yeah.”


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