Fiscal Note & Local Impact Statement

123 rd General Assembly of Ohio

Ohio Legislative Budget Office: a nonpartisan agency providing fiscal research for the Ohio General Assembly

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E-mail: BudgetOffice@LBO.STATE.OH.US ² Internet Web Site:http://www.lbo.state.oh.us/

BILL:

Sub. H.B. 519

DATE:

May 8, 2000

STATUS:

As Reported by House Civil and Commercial Law

SPONSOR:

Rep. Williams

 

LOCAL IMPACT STATEMENT REQUIRED:

No

Minimal costs as introduced; costs in current version are higher

 


CONTENTS:

Eliminates the requirement that SSNs be included on marriage licenses and requires probate courts under certain circumstances to delete SSNs on such records when made available for public inspection; and require domestic relations courts to delete certain information from records available for inspection

 

State Fiscal Highlights

 

·        No direct fiscal effect on the state.

Local Fiscal Highlights

 

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

FY 2000

FY 2001

FUTURE YEARS

Counties

     Revenues

- 0 -

- 0 -

- 0 -

     Expenditures

 Increase, potentially up to $1.0 million statewide

Increase, potentially up to $2.0 million statewide

Increase, potentially up to $2.0 million statewide

Note: For most local governments, the fiscal year is the calendar year. The school district fiscal year is July 1 through June 30.

 

·        The bill will have an impact on domestic relations courts due to the programmatic changes for hard copy and computer generated records that would be necessary to insure only privileged access to certain personal information. It is possible that each county domestic relations court would need one additional full-time file clerk staff (at approximately $20,000/year plus 25% for benefits = $25,000) for hard copy record maintenance and organization, which could result in an annual increase in county expenditures statewide of up to $2.0 million.

 

·        The bill will most likely have a minor impact upon probate courts due to the programmatic changes that would be necessary to insure only privileged access to the SSNs on marriage licenses. The nature and extent of these changes may vary by jurisdiction depending on current administrative and programmatic practices. LBO assumes, however, most of these changes would be one-time in nature resulting in, at most, a potential minimal increase in county expenditures for the first year of implementation.

 

 

 

 


 

 

Detailed Fiscal Analysis

 

Provisions of the bill

 

The bill repeals the requirement that a marriage license issued must include the SSN (SSN) of each party to the marriage and specifically prohibits the display of the SSN on the marriage license issued. The bill requires a probate court, except under certain circumstances, to delete SSNs from records pertaining to marriage licenses when those records are made available for public inspection.

 

In addition, the bill requires the domestic relations division of a court to delete or remove SSNs, dates of birth, bank account, debit card, and credit card numbers from case records so that these items are not available for public inspection.

 

 

Existing Law

 

                Section 3101.05 of the Ohio Revised Code specifies that each marriage license issued must include the SSN of each party to the marriage, as stated on the marriage license application. Under the Public Records Law (section 149.43 of the Ohio Revised Code) generally, all probate courts, upon request, must furnish copies of records pertaining to the issuance of marriage licenses. Currently, records of marriage licenses issued reveal the SSN of the parties to the marriage.

 

            Under Federal Law, the SSNs of the parties to the marriage do not need to be included on the marriage license issued. Parties who choose not to include SSNs on the marriage license can do so under federal law by signing a disclaimer through a probate court.

 

            The existing Domestic Relations Law requires that the record of any action instituted under Chapter 3105. of the Revised Code include the SSNs of both parties. These actions include divorce, annulment, legal separation, and dissolution of marriage. Under the Public Records Law, domestic relations court records are available for public inspection.

 

State Fiscal Effects

 

            The bill’s provisions have no direct fiscal effect on state government.

 

Local Fiscal Effects

 

 Probate Courts. Based on discussions with probate courts and county judges, the bill will have a minor impact upon probate courts due to the programmatic changes that would be necessary to insure only privileged access to the SSNs on marriage licenses. Several probate courts stated computers are used to generate marriage license information, some of which are accessible to the public. In addition, marriage applications and hard copy records of marriage licenses display SSNs of the parties of the marriage and these records are open to public inspection. The programmatic changes made necessary by the bill may vary by jurisdiction, the full extent of which will depend on current administrative and programmatic practice.

 

In order to fulfill the SSN access prohibition, probate courts may need to take the following actions: 1) change current marriage license applications to make SSNs optional, 2) change computer programming to “hide” or otherwise remove SSNs from the public accessible computer screens, 3) change computer programming to generate marriage licenses without the display of the parties’ SSNs, and 4) remove SSNs from any hard copies of a marriage licenses.  LBO assumes most of these changes would involve a one-time cost resulting in a potential minimal increase in county expenditures for the first year of implementation.

 

            Currently, Henschen Associates provides computer services to approximately half of the state’s 88 probate courts. According to the manager of Henschen Associates, the maximum total cost to reconfigure the databases to hide SSNs on all of the probate courts they service would be up to $3,000. If LBO assumes the scope of the changes that the other one-half of the state’s probate courts will have to undertake would be fairly similar, then the total one-time cost statewide to implement the bill’s provisions relative to SSNs and marriage licenses would be up to $6,000.

 

            Domestic Relations Courts. In order to fulfill the bill’s requirements, domestic relations courts will need to do the following: 1) remove or “hide” SSNs, dates of birth, bank account, debit, and credit card numbers from any hard copies in the case file, and 2) change computer programming to block the above list of personal information from the computer terminals accessible to the public.

 

Based on discussions with domestic relations courts and county clerks of courts, the bill will have an impact on domestic relations courts due to the programmatic changes for hard copy records that would be necessary to insure only privileged access to certain personal information.   Several clerk of courts stated that all filings in domestic relations court cases include the information listed above and are accessible to the public.

 

            According to the Ohio Courts Summary, there were a total of 77, 318 new cases statewide filed in Domestic Relations Courts and Divisions in 1998.  LBO assumes that the bill’s requirements would involve hand-changing case filing and records to make SSN, DOB, and account numbers inaccessible by the public. Several courts have stated that the bill would involve hiring additional staff to create and reorganize the current file system, which would involve creating two separate files (a court file and a public file) for each new case.

 

            If a public record request were submitted for past years’ case filings, the court would need to remove the personal information from the files on a case-by-case request. This would involve staff training and implementing programmatic changes to determine the pieces of information that cannot be accessed by the public and making copies of the file. The bill does not apply to certain privileged persons (law enforcement, child support enforcement, and the party to which the record pertains to) and, as a result, a form for identification purposes may need to be created to differentiate between persons who are exempt from the bill’s requirements and the general public.

 

                In addition, several domestic relations court staffers stated that computers are used to generate case information, some of which are accessible to the public. According to two court information management system vendors, Henschen and Associates and Manatron, the maximum cost to reconfigure the databases to “hide” certain personal information would be approximately $300 to $500 per court. If LBO assumes the scope of the changes that the other domestic relations courts, not using the above vendors, will have to undertake would be fairly similar, then the total one-time cost statewide to implement the bill’s provisions relative to SSNs, dates of birth, and account numbers on computer terminals would range between $21,900 and $36,500.

 

At this point in time, without implementation, the exact costs associated with the bill’s requirements are difficult to estimate. If LBO assumes that each domestic relations court statewide would need one additional full-time file clerk staff (at approximately $20,000/year plus 25% for benefits = $25,000) for hard copy record maintenance and organization, then the potential additional annual staff costs to counties statewide could be up to $2.2 million.

 

 

 

 

q LBO staff:  Amy Frankart, Budget/Policy Analyst

 

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