If you are ordering birth, marriage, or death records from some states in the U.S., including California, you may have to limit the number of copies requested due to a security paper shortage. The last printing firm in the United States that uses the special method known as intaglio has gone out of business.
California law requires birth, marriage, and death certificates be printed in a method known as intaglio—a security paper. California’s Department of Public Health and the 58 Counties use the security paper to produce requested copies of birth, marriage, and death certificates. All California counties purchased the paper from a printing company in Ohio, Sekuworks, which closed, resulting in at least several California counties having a reduced supply of secure paper on-hand to produce the vital records. There are limited printers who use that method — none in the U.S., but one in Canada. It may take legislative action to permit other types of secure paper to be used in California — 38 other states had to have a change in the type of security paper they used, as the intaglio process is no longer available from printers. As of the writing of this for Venturing Into Our Past, there are no bills introduced to the California Legislature that address this problem. The California Legislature is scheduled to adjourn on September 11th.
The Orange County Clerk- Recorder’s Office is now encouraging people to limit the number of copies they order while they try to find a new supplier of intaglio paper. Other California counties who get their security paper from the same source are also struggling, and Stanislaus County has limited the number of copies to only one. The state registrar has sufficient supplies for records into next year.
The State is working on a long-term solution, according to the Sacramento County Recorder, while that County has about 9 months’ supply of paper.
In the meantime, don’t be surprised if your requests for multiple copies of vital records may be limited.
Article contributed by CSGA Legislative Watch Chair, Jamie Mahew
Originally written by Jan Meisels Allen, President, JGSCV
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee
IAJGS Sponsoring Representative to RPAC