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General Assembly gives Circuit Court Clerks IMMUNITY when they make our records available online!
When Del. Sam Nixon put in HB2052 in this General Assembly, he meant to only extend the "sunset" clause to July 1, 2007. This bill deals with the Clerk of Circuit Court's "land records" (Click here to find out what a "land record" is in VA?)
However, HB2052 was first thrown into the House Courts of Justice Committee where the immunity clause was added.
So when the Virginia Clerks of Circuit Courts put these "land records" online, they will now be immune from suit unless the Clerk can be proven to be grossly negligent or engaged in willful misconduct.
But don't forget to pay attention to the all important Paragraph D1 in this bill which is already LAW and which means the Clerks will not have to redact out any SSNs, DOBs, minor children's names, mother's maiden names, financial account numbers, or signatures in those records when they are made available via the INTERNET!!!.
Paragraph A says they have to remove those six elements and Paragraph D1 takes it away!!! The people of Virginia are now at risk of having those six elements put on the internet and the General Assembly in 2004 voted to have the records online by July 1, 2006.
So here's the IMMUNITY CLAUSE (Paragraph E) with the Senate amendments below which has now been signed by the Governor of Virginia on March 26, 2005 and will become a part of Code of Virginia Section 2.2-3808.2 on July 1, 2005.
Here's the Senate vote . on 2/21/05
Here's the House vote to adopt the bill on 2/23/05.
E. The clerk of the circuit court of any jurisdiction shall be immune from suit arising from any acts or omissions relating to providing remote access on the Internet pursuant to this section unless the clerk was grossly negligent or engaged in willful misconduct.
This subsection shall not be construed to limit, withdraw or overturn any defense or immunity already existing in statutory or common law, or to affect any cause of action accruing prior to the effective date of this subsection.
F. This section shall expire on July 1, 2007.
About a dozen Virginia Circuit Court Clerks are already online with the records but they all have to be online on or before July 1, 2006! And ANYONE can sign up because they are PUBLIC RECORDS but do you want your personal business seen by just ANYONE from the privacy of their home?
Would you pay $25 to get into Fairfax's records? Or $50 to get into Arlington County's records where there are all the SSNs you can ever imagine! Here's an example of what you could get in Fairfax. This link takes you to two pages of Former Secretary of State Colin Powell's and wife's Deed of Trust (mortgage papers) complete with their home address where they still live and their Social Security numbers!
Do something! Write/Call your Senator or Delegate and tell them to pull the plug on this online records mess. Tell them that if people want to see those records, make them drive to the courthouse!!! We have one more session to stop this. Make it a campaign issue. Ask any body challenging an incumbent what they will do to help stop online access of these records... All Delegates are up for re-election this year.
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