[[Page 110 STAT.
Public Law 104-208
Making omnibus consolidated
appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 1997, and for other purposes. <<NOTE:
Sept. 30, 1996 - [H.R. 3610]>>
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America <<NOTE:
Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act, 1997.>> in Congress assembled,
[ . . . ]
SEC. 656. <<NOTE: 5 USC 301 note.>>
IMPROVEMENTS IN IDENTIFICATION - RELATED DOCUMENTS.
(a) Birth Certificates.--
(1) Standards for acceptance by federal agencies.--
(A) In general.--
(i) General rule.-- Subject to clause (ii), a Federal agency may not
accept for any official purpose a certificate of birth, unless the certificate -- (I) is a
birth certificate (as defined in paragraph (3)); and (II) conforms to the standards set
forth in the regulation promulgated under subparagraph (B).
(ii) Applicability.-- Clause (i) shall apply only to a certificate of
birth issued after the day that is 3 years after the date of the promulgation of a final
regulation under subparagraph (B). Clause (i) shall not be construed to prevent a Federal
agency from accepting for official purposes any certificate of birth issued on or before
(i) Consultation with government agencies.-- The President shall select 1
or more Federal agencies to consult with State vital statistics offices, and with other
appropriate Federal agencies designated by the President, for the purpose of developing
appropriate standards for birth certificates that may be accepted for official purposes by
Federal agencies, as provided in subparagraph (A).
(ii) Selection of lead agency.-- Of the Federal agencies selected under
clause (i), the President shall select 1 agency to promulgate, upon the conclusion of the
consultation conducted under such clause, a regulation establishing standards of the type
described in such clause.
(iii) Deadline.-- The agency selected under clause (ii) shall promulgate a
final regulation under such clause not later than the date that is 1 year after the date
of the enactment of this Act.
(iv) Minimum requirements.-- The standards established under this
(I) at a minimum, shall require certification of the birth certificate by
the State or local custodian of record that issued the certificate, and shall require the
use of safety paper, the seal of the issuing custodian of record, and other features
designed to limit tampering, counterfeiting, and photocopying, or otherwise duplicating,
the birth certificate for fraudulent purposes;
(II) may not require a single design to which birth certificates issued by
all States must conform; and
(III) shall accommodate the differences between the States in the manner
and form in ...
[[Page 110 STAT. 3009-717]]
...which birth records are stored and birth certificates are produced from
(2) Grants to states.--
(A) Assistance in meeting federal standards.--
(i) In general.-- Beginning on the date a final regulation is promulgated
under paragraph (1)(B), the Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the
Director of the National Center for Health Statistics and after consulting with the head
of any other agency designated by the President, shall make grants to States to assist
them in issuing birth certificates that conform to the standards set forth in the
(ii) Allocation of grants.-- The Secretary shall provide grants to States
under this subparagraph in proportion to the populations of the States applying to receive
a grant and in an amount needed to provide a substantial incentive for States to issue
birth certificates that conform to the standards described in clause (i).
(B) Assistance in matching birth and death records.--
(i) In general.-- The Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting
through the Director of the National Center for Health Statistics and after consulting
with the head of any other agency designated by the President, shall make grants to States
to assist them in developing the capability to match birth and death records, within each
State and among the States, and to note the fact of death on the birth certificates of
deceased persons. In developing the capability described in the preceding sentence, a
State that receives a grant under this subparagraph shall focus first on individuals born
(ii) Allocation and amount of grants.-- The Secretary shall provide grants
to States under this subparagraph in proportion to the populations of the States applying
to receive a grant and in an amount needed to provide a substantial incentive for States
to develop the capability described in clause (i).
(C) Demonstration projects.--
The Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Director of
the National Center for Health Statistics, shall make grants to States for a project in
each of 5 States to demonstrate the feasibility of a system under which persons otherwise
required to report the death of individuals to a State would be required to provide to the
State's office of vital statistics sufficient information to establish the fact of death
of every individual dying in the State within 24 hours of acquiring the information.
(3) Birth certificate.-- As used in this subsection, the
term "birth certificate" means a certificate of birth--
(i) an individual born in the United States; or
(ii) an individual born abroad--
(I) who is a citizen or national of the United States at birth; and
[[Page 110 STAT. 3009-718]]
(II) whose birth is registered in the United States; and
(i) is a copy, issued by a State or local authorized custodian of record,
of an original certificate of birth issued by such custodian of record; or
(ii) was issued by a State or local authorized custodian of record and was
produced from birth records maintained by such custodian of record.
(b) State-Issued Drivers Licenses and Comparable Identification
(1) Standards for acceptance by federal agencies.--
(A) In general.-- A Federal agency may not accept for any
identification-related purpose a driver's license, or other comparable identification
document, issued by a State, unless the license or document satisfies the following
(i) Application process.-- The application process for the license or
document shall include the presentation of such evidence of identity as is required by
regulations promulgated by the Secretary of Transportation after consultation with the
American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.
(ii) Social security number.-- Except as provided in subparagraph (B), the
license or document shall contain a social security account number that can be read
visually or by electronic means.
(iii) Form.-- The license or document otherwise shall be in a form
consistent with requirements set forth in regulations promulgated by the Secretary of
Transportation after consultation with the American Association of Motor Vehicle
Administrators. The form shall contain security features designed to limit tampering,
counterfeiting, photocopying, or otherwise duplicating, the license or document for
fraudulent purposes and to limit use of the license or document by impostors.
(B) Exception.-- The requirement in subparagraph (A)(ii) shall not apply
with respect to a driver's license or other comparable identification document issued by a
State, if the State--
(i) does not require the license or document to contain a social security
account number; and
(I) every applicant for a driver's license, or other comparable
identification document, to submit the applicant's social security account number; and
(II) an agency of the State to verify with the Social Security
Administration that such account number is valid.
(C) Deadline.-- The Secretary of Transportation shall promulgate the
regulations referred to in clauses (i) and (iii) of subparagraph (A) not later than 1 year
after the date of the enactment of this Act.
(2) Grants to states. -- Beginning on the date final
regulations are promulgated under paragraph (1), the Secretary of ...
[[Page 110 STAT. 3009-719]]
... Transportation shall make grants to States to assist them in issuing
driver's licenses and other comparable identification documents that satisfy the
requirements under such paragraph.
(3) Effective dates.--
(a) In general.-- Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, this
subsection shall take effect on the date of the enactment of this Act.
(b) Prohibition on federal agencies.--Subparagraphs (A) and (B) of
paragraph (1) shall take effect beginning on October 1, 2000, but shall apply only to
licenses or documents issued to an individual for the first time and to replacement or
renewal licenses or documents issued according to State law.
(c) Report.-- Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the
Secretary of Health and Human Services shall submit a report to the Congress on ways to
reduce the fraudulent obtaining and the fraudulent use of birth certificates, including
any such use to obtain a social security account number or a State or Federal document
related to identification or immigration.
(d) Federal Agency Defined.-- For purposes of this section, the term
"Federal agency" means any of the following:
(1) An Executive agency (as defined in section 105 of title 5, United
(2) A military department (as defined in section 102 of such title).
(3) An agency in the legislative branch of the Government of the United
(4) An agency in the judicial branch of the Government of the United
SEC. 657. <<NOTE: 42 USC 405 note.>>
DEVELOPMENT OF PROTOTYPE OF COUNTERFEIT-RESISTANT SOCIAL SECURITY CARD.
(1) In general.-- The Commissioner of Social Security (in this section
referred to as the "Commissioner") shall, in accordance with the provisions of
this section, develop a prototype of a counterfeit-resistant social security card. Such
(A) shall be made of a durable, tamper-resistant material such as plastic
(B) shall employ technologies that provide security features, such as
magnetic stripes, holograms, and integrated circuits; and
(C) shall be developed so as to provide individuals with reliable proof of
citizenship or legal resident alien status.
(2) Assistance by attorney general.-- The Attorney General shall provide
such information and assistance as the Commissioner deems necessary to achieve the
purposes of this section.
(b) Studies and Reports.--
(1) In general.-- The Comptroller General and the Commissioner of Social
Security shall each conduct a study, and issue a report to the Congress, that examines
different methods of improving the social security card application process.
[[Page 110 STAT. 3009-720]]
(2) Elements of studies.-- The studies shall include evaluations of the
cost and work load implications of issuing a counterfeit-resistant social security card
for all individuals over a 3, 5, and 10 year period. The studies shall also evaluate
the feasibility and cost implications of imposing a user fee for replacement cards and
cards issued to individuals who apply for such a card prior to the scheduled 3, 5, and 10
year phase-in options.
(3) Distribution of reports.-- Copies of the reports described in this
subsection, along with facsimiles of the prototype cards as described in subsection (a),
shall be submitted to the Committees on Ways and Means and Judiciary of the House of
Representatives and the Committees on Finance and Judiciary of the Senate not later than 1
year after the date of the enactment of this Act.