Tim Gruber and his group People for Better Pennsylvania Historical Records Access—"PaHR-Access" to their friends—are trying to expand access to Pennsylvania's death records.
Gruber says he is working with legislators to have a bill introduced that would address the No. 1 problem, from a researcher’s standpoint: That there is no type of index available to the public in which to search. As a “closed records state,” Pennsylvania’s law says that only certain people can even request a copy of the certificate.PaHR-Access wants genealogists and others to write or call state officials, but what it really, desperately needs is a new name. Something like "Pennsylvanians for Open Records Now," which would make its new acronym... Wait, no, that won't work.
One of the main ways that the Division of Vital Records enforces this provision is to require quite a bit of information on the application for a death certificate — including such items as the date of death … which, of course, is frequently what a genealogist is trying to find out from the death certificate! [Link]