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Idaho governor signs bill to create a statewide next-of-kin database

by | Mar 27, 2024 | Coroner Press Releases, Highlights, Newsroom | 0 comments

A new law will help Idaho coroners notify families faster when a loved one dies.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed Senate Bill 1365 into law on Wednesday, March 20, 2024. The bill will 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 co-sponsored the bill with Sen. Mark Harris, R-Soda Springs. The idea came to Danner after he spent three days tracking down the family of a woman who died in Chubbuck to find that her father also lived in Chubbuck.

“I am proud to get this legislation done so we can move forward with establishing a much-needed database so we may have a greater ability to contact families in a more timely and efficient manner,” Danner said.

“As our world is changing and phone books are getting thinner and more people are using cell phones, it’s getting more difficult to locate people. This legislation is designed to help with this challenge,” Sen. Harris said. 

The new law will 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 will have the option to provide or update their next of kin.

The database would only be accessible to coroners and law enforcement to notify a family of an injury, death, or other emergency. The information cannot be used for any other purpose.

The database will be implemented in 2025 for an estimated one-time cost of $24,000.

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