0407-Central Office General Administration Fund; 5144 Vital Statistics Account; 5225 Vital Improvement Account

Sources of Revenue:

General Fund,Special Fund

Legislation creates:

Neither Program nor Fund

Fiscal Note Summary

Effect this measure will have on costs and revenues of state government.

    The purpose of this bill is to provide for the issuance, without charge, of up to two certified copies of a veteran's or active military service member's death certificate by the Section of Vital Statistics within the Bureau for Public Health, WV DHHR, (Vital Registration Office) to the administrator or executor of the deceased veteran's or active military service member's estate within 30 days of the death.
    Additional copies must be purchased at the regular fee from the Section of Vital Statistics or County Clerk except when a death certificate is needed to obtain benefits from the federal government as specified in section twelve-a, article four, chapter fifty-one of the code. Therefore, even after distributing two free death certificates, additional death certificates can still be issued free from a County Clerk's Office when applying for federal benefits.
    A veteran shall be construed to mean any person who has served in the Armed Forces of the United States as defined in section two, article four, chapter nine-a of the code. There is no reference to a definition for "active military service member" stated in the bill. The 2012 death file held by the Vital Registration Office shows approximately 21,417 deaths occurred in West Virginia. The Department of Health and Human Resources handles approximately 90% of the death certificate sales for the state. The Bureau for Public Health, Vital Statistics Center estimates that approximately 23.5% of all deaths are showing a veteran status. Therefore, the Department estimates the state would lose $108,713 in total death certificate sales by the passage of this legislation.

Fiscal Note Detail

Effect of Proposal Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year
(Upon Full
1. Estmated Total Cost 0 0 0
Personal Services 0 0 0
Current Expenses 0 0 0
Repairs and Alterations 0 0 0
Assets 0 0 0
Other 0 0 0
2. Estimated Total Revenues -27,178 -108,713 -108,713

Explanation of above estimates (including long-range effect):

    The current cost of a death certificate is $12.00. If DHHR loses the sale of two certificates from each veteran death, the loss of total sales would be approximately $108,713 (5,033 veteran deaths X 2 certified copies X 90% of total sales as the state‚Äôs proportion of sales X $12 for each certificate).
    The total loss in revenue as a result of this legislation is $108,713. One third of the $12 fee collected is deposited into the general revenue fund (a loss of $36,238 annually) and the remaining two-thirds is deposited into two special revenue accounts for the Department (a loss of $72,475). NOTE: The 2014 decrease in revenues above is predicated on the law being in effect the last 3 months of FY2014.


    The negative fiscal impact on the Vital Registration Office could harm projects envisioned to improve the system of vital statistics in West Virginia especially from the customer service viewpoint. Also, in times of declining general revenue fund appropriations, special revenue funds can often be substituted to "patch" shortages that could otherwise result in the loss of mandated program functions.

    Person submitting Fiscal Note: Karen L. Bowling
    Email Address: