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Bannock County coroner sponsors bill to create a statewide next-of-kin database

by | Feb 26, 2024 | Coroner Press Releases, Highlights, Newsroom

BANNOCK COUNTY, Idaho – The Idaho legislature is considering a bill to create a statewide database to store people’s next of kin information.

Next of kin is defined as a person’s closest living family member. This is who coroners and law enforcement notify when someone dies. Idaho does not have a system to track people’s next of kin information, which has caused delays in notifying families of their loved one’s death.

Bannock County Coroner Torey Danner is co-sponsoring the bill, SB1365, with Senator Mark Harris of Soda Springs. The idea came to Danner after he spent three days tracking down the family of a woman who died in Chubbuck. It turned out that her father also lived in Chubbuck.

“I couldn’t fathom as a parent what it would be like to A) lose a child, and B) to not find out until days after. A delayed death notification escalates both the emotion and the timeline for their end-of-life planning. By establishing this database, it helps us help you, and we can better serve our communities,” Danner said.

The bill would establish a voluntary next-of-kin database within the Idaho Transportation Department’s Department of Motor Vehicles. As people renew their driver’s licenses, they would have the option to provide or update their next of kin.

The proposed legislation would only allow coroners and law enforcement officials to access the information, which could only be used to notify a family of an injury, death, or other emergency situation. The information could not be used for any other purposes.

The bill was introduced to the Senate on Feb. 16. It has an estimated one-time cost of $24,000 to implement the database. The bill will now move to the House for review.

Anyone with questions or comments is encouraged to contact Coroner Danner at coroner@bannockcounty.gov or 208-236-7030.

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