California “Parental Naming Rights” Bill Stalls Out

The aim of California’s Assembly Bill No. 2528, which was introduced Assemblymember Nancy Skinner in early 2014, was to force the state to add diacritical marks to birth certificates and other state-issued identity documents:

From the text of the bill:

This bill would require the State Registrar to ensure that diacritical marks on English letters are properly recorded on all certificates of live birth, fetal death, or death, and all marriage licenses, including, but not limited to, accents, tildes, graves, umlauts, and cedillas.

The bill was supported by many, including Professor Carlton F. W. Larson of UC Davis School of Law, who wrote about the constitutional dimensions of parental naming rights back in early 2011.

But the bill stalled out in April of this year.

Why? Money:

As Skinner’s bill progressed through the assembly it came time for different agencies to chime in with estimates on the cost of updating their systems. The final tally: $10m. “Coming out of the recession, when an agency or department put the cost on a bill that was their way of trying to prevent action from being taken,” Skinner said. “We’ve pushed through some of that, but there is still resistance. I questioned how much it would really cost.”

“Updating their systems”? What is this, 1989?

Skinner is no longer in the California State Assembly, but I hope someone reintroduces this issue soon.

Update: A similar bill, AB 82, was introduced in January of 2017.

Sources: California birth certificates and accents: O’Connor alright, Ramón and José is not, Professor Larson Testifies for California Assembly on Parental Naming Rights

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