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Birth Certificate Bill Faces Senate "Kill" Committee

A proposal in the Colorado Legislature would create a policy for changing gender on a birth certificate similar to requirements of the U.S. Passport Office. (Pixabay)
A proposal in the Colorado Legislature would create a policy for changing gender on a birth certificate similar to requirements of the U.S. Passport Office. (Pixabay)
March 28, 2018

DENVER - vA new law that would bring Colorado up to date with federal policies for changing a person's gender on their birth certificate won bipartisan support to clear the state House, and proponents are pulling out all stops after the bill was assigned to the Senate's "kill committee."

Daniel Ramos, executive director of the group One Colorado, said eliminating barriers for changing gender is important because when someone's identity doesn't match what's listed on their birth certificate, it can lead to discrimination.

"It's important for transgender people to also have the freedom to live their lives, to be treated with dignity and respect, to be able to access employment, housing and access to businesses and other services, just like everybody else," he said.

Ramos said the current policy is unnecessarily burdensome and a violation of privacy. Under Colorado law, people must undergo surgery and then make their case before a judge in order to win a court order allowing the change. The "Birth Certificate Modernization Act" would only require a letter from a health professional. Opponents of the bill warn that it could encourage fraud or allow people to get out of criminal or credit history.

The U.S. Passport office and Social Security Administration follow the same procedures proposed in HB 1046, Ramos said, arguing that concerns about fraud are unfounded.

"With criminal and credit history, that is tracked by Social Security number, not birth name," Ramos said, "and so, the Social Security number, regardless of the gender, would still stay the same."

Similar measures have died in the past three legislative sessions. The Colorado Senate's State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee is scheduled to hear the bill today.

The bill is online at leg.colorado.gov.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO