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California Assemblywoman Introduces Identity Integrity Act

Assemblywoman Blanca Pacheco proposed legislation that would allow for California citizens to include accents, umlauts and other diacritical marks on vital records.

Source: LA Magazine

Beyoncé may finally have her name recorded correctly in California.

In one of the most diverse states in the nation, some names still cannot be recorded correctly on birth certificates, marriage licenses and other vital records.

Assemblywoman Blanca Pacheco wants to put an end to that.

Pacheco, a Democrat, re-introduced legislation that would allow for residents of California to include accents, umlauts, tildes and other diacritical marks on vital records.

In an interview with L.A. Magazine, the assemblywoman talked about how her family inspired her to propose this bill:

"My dad was born in Mexico, he grew up there. He said it was always important to know where you came from and your culture," Pacheco said.

While acknowledging that her family would specifically benefit from this bill, she also mentioned the numerous other communities that this bill would be of service to if passed.

"A misconception is that it only affects the Latino community. But in reality, it's also German names, Vietnamese, Filipino. There's so many different cultures and ethnicities that will benefit from this," the assemblywoman said.

She said she is optimistic that there is broad support from this bill among her colleagues, "It's a bipartisan bill, so it's supported by Democrats and Republicans. We tried this bill last year, it got held in the [Appropriations Committee]. This year, we're hopeful it will pass."

"The cost should be minimal," she said, mentioning that if anything, counties would see increased revenue from people paying amendment fees to change their names.

This bill is important to Pacheco for many reasons, but it particularly hits home for her because of the make-up of her district. 

"The majority of my district is Latino - over 70% is Latino. There's so many ethnicities in my community. It would help so many people in my district," she said.

Pacheco's district, the 64th district, covers Downey, Norwalk and their surrounding areas. According to the 2020 Census, the population in her district is 73.35% "Hispanic or Latino."

Interestingly, diacritical marks are allowed on vital records throughout the states of Texas and Utah but not in California.

"In California, specifically, it would be amazing for people to be able to correctly spell their names. People take such pride in their names. I think it would benefit California as a whole," said Pacheco.