D.C. Law 21-258. Death Certificate Gender Identity Recognition Amendment Act of 2016.

D.C. Law 21-258. Death Certificate Gender Identity Recognition Amendment Act of 2016.

AN ACT

To amend the Vital Records Act of 1981 to establish a procedure for reporting a decedent's gender identity or expression on the decedent's certificate of death, to exempt a funeral director completing the certificate of death from liability for damages or costs arising from a claim related to the reporting of the decedent's gender identity or expression unless the claim was the result of the funeral director's error, to establish a procedure for an individual to pre-designate the individual's gender identity or expression with the Registrar of Vital Records before the individual's death, to allow any person to file a petition in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia seeking an order of the court to determine the gender identity or expression to be recorded on the decedent's certificate of death, and to provide for amendments to a certificate of death.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, That this act may be cited as the "Death Certificate Gender Identity Recognition Amendment Act of 2016".

Sec. 2. The Vital Records Act of 1981, effective October 8, 1981 (D.C. Law 4-34; D.C. Official Code § 7-201 et seq.), is amended as follows:

Amend § 7-201

(a) Section 2 (D.C. Official Code § 7-201) is amended by adding a new paragraph (7B) to read as follows:

"(7B) "Gender identity or expression" shall have the same meaning as provided in section 102(12A) of the Human Rights Act of 1977, effective December 13, 1977 (D.C. Law 2-38; D.C. Official Code § 2-1401.02(12A)).".

Amend § 7-211

(b) Section 12 (D.C. Official Code § 7-211) is amended as follows:

(1) New subsections (a-1), (a-2), (a-3), and (a-4) are added to read as follows:

"(a-1)(1) The decedent's gender identity or expression shall be reported to the funeral director or person acting as such by any person with the right to control the disposition of the remains of the decedent, the location and conditions of interment, and arrangements for funeral goods and services pursuant to section 14 of the District of Columbia Funeral Services Regulatory Act of 1984, effective May 22, 1984 (D.C. Law 5-84; D.C. Official Code § 3-413).

"(2) The funeral director or person acting as such shall not be liable for any damages or costs arising from a claim related to the reporting of the decedent's gender identity or expression on the certificate of death unless the claim was the result of an error made by the funeral director or person acting as such.

"(a-2)(1) The Registrar shall establish a procedure by which an individual may pre-designate the individual's gender identity or expression as the individual wishes it to be reported on the individual's certificate of death.

"(2) A pre-designation under this subsection shall be filed with the Registrar.

"(a-3) Upon the filing of a certificate of death by the funeral director or person acting as such, the Registrar shall check the decedent's reported sex under subsection (a-1) of this section against the pre-designation of gender identity or expression filed under subsection (a-2) of this section. If there is a conflict between the decedent's reported sex and the pre-designated gender identity or expression, the Registrar shall amend the certificate of death to list the decedent's sex as the pre-designated gender identity or expression.

"(a-4)(1) If a decedent did not pre-designate the decedent's gender identity or expression with the Registrar under subsection (a-2) of this section, any person may challenge the gender identity or expression reported to the funeral director or person acting as such under subsection (a-1) of this section, within 10 days after the certificate of death has been filed by the Registrar, by filing a petition in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia seeking an order of the Court to determine the gender identity or expression to be recorded on the certificate of death.

"(2) In determining the gender identity or expression to be recorded on a decedent's certificate of death under paragraph (1) of this subsection, the Court may consider testimony, documentation that memorializes the decedent's gender transition, or any other evidence of the decedent's gender identity or expression. Documents that memorialize a decedent's gender transition include:

"(A) Written instructions from the decedent;

"(B) A court order approving a name or gender change;

"(C) A statement, signed under the penalty of law, by a licensed healthcare provider who treated or evaluated the decedent, stating that:

"(i) The decedent underwent surgical, hormonal, or other treatment appropriate for the decedent for the purpose of gender transition, based on contemporary medical standards; or

"(ii) The decedent had an intersex condition, and that in the healthcare provider's professional opinion, the decedent's gender designation should be changed; or

"(D) Documentation of a change to the decedent's gender marker on a certificate of birth, driver's license or state identification card, social security record, or passport.

"(3) The Registrar shall amend the decedent's certificate of death to reflect the Court's order.

"(4)(A) An amended certificate of death shall:

"(i) Be substituted for the original certificate of death; and

"(ii) Not be marked "amended" or on its face show that a change in gender identity or expression has been made;

"(B) The original certificate of death, along with any documents submitted pursuant to this subsection, shall be sealed and made available only upon an order of the court.".

(2) Subsection (e) is amended by striking the phrase "death certificate" and inserting the phrase "certificate of death" in its place.

(3) Subsection (f) is amended by striking the phrase "death certificate" and inserting the phrase "certificate of death" in its place.

(4) Subsection (h) is amended by striking the phrase "death certificate" wherever it appears and inserting the phrase "certificate of death" in its place.

(5) Subsection (i) is amended by striking the phrase "death certificate" and inserting the phrase "certificate of death" in its place.

(6) Subsection (j) is amended by striking the phrase "death certificate" and inserting the phrase "certificate of death" in its place.

Sec. 3. Fiscal impact statement.

The Council adopts the fiscal impact statement in the committee report as the fiscal impact statement required by section 4a of the General Legislative Procedures Act of 1975, approved October 16, 2006 (120 Stat. 2038; D.C. Official Code § 1-301.47a).

Sec. 4. Effective date.

This act shall take effect following approval by the Mayor (or in the event of veto by the Mayor, action by the Council to override the veto), a 30-day period of congressional review as provided in section 602(c)(1) of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, approved December 24, 1973 (87 Stat. 813; D.C. Official Code § 1-206.02(c)(1)), and publication in the District of Columbia Register.