The House Health and Human Services Committee unanimously passed HB 204 Wednesday, a bill to end the outdated requirement for people legally changing their names to have the change published twice in local newspapers.
The bill, which eliminates the publication requirement for any New Mexican seeking a name change, was initially created to protect domestic violence survivors.
“For someone escaping an abusive relationship, a legal name change can provide an opportunity to start over,” Armstrong said, “but if the name change must be published in the local newspaper in order to be approved, there is no privacy in the process and victims can continue to be harassed by their abusers. This simple change is a common-sense way to help domestic violence survivors to move forward.”
HB 204 repeals the publication requirement and allows for further privacy for minors if involving their parents in the name-change process would jeopardize the child’s safety.
“In New Mexico, we value personal privacy and we respect the right of every citizen to live their life free from abuse,” Armstrong said. “Simplifying and protecting the highly personal process of changing your name is the right thing to do for all New Mexicans.”
HB 204 will now head to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.