WHEREAS, the right to privacy is a personal and fundamental right guaranteed to Californians by our Constitution; and

WHEREAS, California law also places a high value on open government and public access to public records; and

WHEREAS, ensuring the safety and privacy of Californians is an important objective; and

WHEREAS, the misuse of birth certificates and death certificates play a major role in identity theft; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Health Services has created electronic indices containing birth and death data for Californians; and

WHEREAS, the release of these indices to the public may jeopardize the safety, security and privacy of Californians; and

WHEREAS, the California Information Practices Act (Civil Code section 1798 et seq.) provides that certain personal information shall not be released except in accordance with the California Public Records Act; and

WHEREAS, the California Public Records Act exempts certain records from disclosure to the public where there would be an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy (Government Code sections 6254(c) and 6255);

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GRAY DAVIS, Governor of the State of California, by virtue of the power and authority vested in me by the Constitution and statutes of the State of California, do hereby issue this order to become effective immediately:

IT IS ORDERED that the Department of Health Services shall not release birth and death indices to the public pending the review ordered below.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Department of Health Services shall review the circumstances, if any, under which information contained in the birth and death indices may be released to third parties in compliance with applicable law and report back to me within 45 days.

Nothing in this Executive Order shall prohibit individuals or government agencies from obtaining birth or death information, including any information necessary for adoptions and foster care services, from the Department of Health Services.