BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 923
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 29, 2009

                                Kevin De Leon, Chair

                   AB 923 (Swanson) - As Amended:  April 13, 2009 

          Policy Committee:                               

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:  
          Yes    Reimbursable:              No


          This bill adds Board of Equalization members, zoo veterinarians,  
          employees of certain animal control shelters, and code  
          enforcement officers, to the list of peace officers and other  
          public officials who may request the DMV to provide enhanced  
          confidentiality to their home addresses.

           FISCAL EFFECT  

          1)Direct one time cost of up to $75,000 (for one additional  
            position) to DMV to modify its public official confidentiality  
            process and to add several hundred names to the  
            confidentiality list (Motor Vehicle Account).

          2)Significant cost pressure - potentially exceeding several  
            hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. Numerous groups are  
            currently seeking enhanced confidentiality status. Passage of  
            this bill would create considerable pressure for the  
            Legislature to approve the enhanced status to potentially tens  
            of thousands of individuals in various occupational groups. 

          3)Potential reduction in state and local tolls, parking fees,  
            fines, to the extent that current law makes it difficult for  
            local parking and toll agencies to collect tolls and fines  
            from those protected by the enhanced confidentiality statutes  
            (see discussion below). 


           1)Rationale  .  The sponsor of this bill contends that BOE  
            members, in rendering decisions regarding tax issues, could be  


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            faced with challenges to their personal safety as a result of  
            those decisions.  Similarly, veterinarians may face threats by  
            virtue of their euthanization of captured animals for public  
            safety reasons or their reporting of suspected dog fights.   
            Supporters also point out that code enforcement officers have  
            been murdered in the line of duty over the past several years.

           2)Background  .  Until 1989, DMV records were generally considered  
            public records and any person who had a legitimate reason to  
            seek a home address of a particular person in the DMV files  
            could obtain it simply by producing the relevant driver's  
            license number or a license plate number.  In 1986,  
            legislation was enacted creating a list of public officials  
            whose home addresses were to be kept confidential by the DMV.  
            Under  this legislation, the home addresses of peace officers  
            and others on the statutory list may only be disclosed to a  
            court, a law enforcement agency, the BOE, or any governmental  
            agency legally required to be furnished that information. As a  
            matter of practice, DMV records for these individuals only  
            show the individual's employer's address. Home addresses may  
            be retrieved only through a time consuming manual process.

            The original list of persons whose home addresses are to be  
            kept confidential by the DMV, included the Attorney General  
            and Department of Justice attorneys, the State Public Defender  
            and deputy defenders, members of the Legislature, judges or  
            court commissioners, district attorneys and their deputies,  
            public defenders, and peace officers and their families.   
            Since then, the list has expanded to encompass tens of  
            thousands of other public employees and their families.

            In 1989, actress Rebecca Schaeffer was stalked and killed by a  
            man who obtained her address through a private investigator  
            who, in turn, obtained her address from the DMV.  In response  
            to this murder, the Legislature enacted AB 1779 (Roos) -  
            Chapter 1213, Statutes of 1989, which made confidential the  
            home addresses of all individuals with records at the DMV.   
            The level of confidentiality is similar to that enjoyed by  
            public officials protected by the 1986 legislation, except  
            that disclosures may also be made, in limited circumstances,  
            to financial institutions, insurance companies, attorneys,  
            vehicle manufacturers, and persons doing statistical research.

            Despite the fact that all home addresses are kept confidential  
            by the DMV, the Legislature has considered and enacted several  


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            bills since 1990 adding select categories of persons to the  
            public official confidentiality process.  

           3)Opposition  . The DMV opposes expansion of the enhanced  
            confidentiality statutes, stating that, given current  
            protection afforded in law to everyone, such legislation is  
            not necessary. DMV also contends that (a) adding new  
            categories will encourage a proliferation of requests from  
            other occupational group to be included, and (b)  
            administration of the program is a manual, labor intensive  
            process and due to the state's fiscal situation and current  
            furlough program, the resources of the DMV are very limited.

           4)Other concerns  . A recent investigation by the Orange County  
            Register revealed thousands of unpaid violations and tolls  
            accrued by a number of peace officers and other individuals  
            whose DMV records are afforded enhanced confidentiality.   
            These unpaid tolls and fines cost agencies in Orange County  
            over $5 million over the past five years.  Parking and toll  
            agencies throughout the state, including those in San Diego  
            and San Francisco, have experienced similar abuses. When  
            parking agencies or toll road operators (who are not exempted  
            from the enhanced confidentiality statutes) attempt to collect  
            fines from such individuals, DMV is precluded from providing  
            the information under the special confidentiality statutes,  
            and the agencies must then seek information through a request  
            from law enforcement agencies. Given these hurdles and  
            statutes of limitations, local agencies have been precluded  
            from collecting fines and tolls.  AB 996 (Spitzer), of 2008,  
            would have addressed this situation by allowing toll and  
            parking enforcement agencies access to records of those  
            covered by the special confidentiality statutes, was vetoed by  
            the Governor last year.

           5)Alternative Action  . Since the enactment of AB 1779 in 1989  
            eliminates the need for the separate home address  
            confidentiality protections afforded to public officials and  
            employees under Vehicle Code sections 1808.2, 1808.4, and  
            1808.6, a more appropriate course of action would be to repeal  
            these three outdated sections. Most persons seeking  
            confidential information about others no longer even look to  
            DMV records for the data since those records are so carefully  
            protected and much more easily obtainable via the internet.   
            DMV is not aware of any instance since the enactment of AB  
            1779 where DMV home address information has been used for a  


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            criminal purpose.

           6)Similar legislation  . This bill is similar to AB 1958  
            (Swanson), introduced in 2008. That bill was held on this  
            committee's suspense file. AB 592 (Lowenthal), also before  
            this committee today, would extend enhanced DMV  
            confidentiality to Board of Equalization investigators.  

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Brad Williams / APPR. / (916) 319-2081