Tuesday, April 7, 2015
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – The governor signed a Senate bill identical to the one sponsored by Rep. Albert Hale, D-St. Michaels (District 7), which will codify recent action by the Arizona Department of Health Services to make it easier for Native Americans to obtain a delayed birth certificate in the state.
“This is a very important issue to all Native American communities in Arizona. I am grateful that the governor and my legislative colleagues made correcting this hardship a priority,” Hale said.
The law makes permanent the Arizona Department of Health Services policy that streamlined the process for Native Americans to receive delayed birth certificates. Previously, getting a delayed birth certificate required producing multiple forms of verification that a person was born at a specific time and place. Many Native Americans are born at home and do not get a birth certificate issued at the time of birth, and securing the necessary documentation is often difficult. A birth certificate is important documentation for receiving social security and other benefits.
Hale recognized the efforts of Coconino County Supervisor Lena Fowler in crafting the legislation.
“Without her efforts, this change would not have been possible,” Hale said.
Fowler highlighted the difficulties people face trying to collect the documentation currently needed.
“This legislation will improve the quality of life for Native Americans in all 22 tribes in Arizona, and it will allow many people to prove their citizenship and their eligibility for services.”
The law will go into effect on July 3, 2015.
Rep. Hale is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation. He was born in Ganado and raised in Klagetoh, Arizona. He is Ashiihi (Salt), born for Todichiini (Bitter Water). His maternal grandparents are Hanaghani (Walk About clan). His paternal grandparents are Kiyanii (Tall House clan). He is a 1969 graduate of Fort Wingate High School, a Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school located east of Gallup, New Mexico. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona (1973), and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law, Albuquerque, New Mexico (1977), and an honorary Juris Doctor degree from Phoenix School of Law (2012). He is the former President of the Navajo Nation
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