BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    






               SENATE COMMITTEE ON ELECTIONS, REAPPORTIONMENT AND  
                           CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS
                          Senator Loni Hancock, Chair


          BILL NO:   SB 1233           HEARING DATE: 4/6/10
          AUTHOR:    OROPEZA           ANALYSIS BY:  Frances Tibon  
          Estoista
          AMENDED:   3/22/10
          FISCAL:    YES
          
                                     SUBJECT
           
          Confidential address programs

                                   DESCRIPTION  
          
           Existing law  establishes the following two programs, until  
          January 1, 2013, collectively known as the "Safe At Home"  
          project:

              The Address Confidentiality for Victims of Domestic  
              Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking program; and, 

              The Address Confidentiality for Reproductive Health  
              Care Service Providers, Employees, Volunteers, and  
              Patients program.

           Existing law  allows a person who is a victim of domestic  
          violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or who is a  
          reproductive health care services provider, employee,  
          volunteer, or patient, and who fears for his or her safety  
          or the safety of his or her family, to participate in the  
          "Safe at Home" project by applying to the Secretary of  
          State (SOS) at a designated community based assistance  
          program.

           Existing law  provides that each participant in the "Safe at  
          Home" project shall have a substitute address designated by  
          the SOS that the participant may use when he or she is  
          required to provide an address to a state or local agency.

           Existing law  requires every state or local agency, with  
          limited exceptions, to accept the substitute address  
          designated by the SOS when creating a public record.










           Existing law  requires the SOS to forward all first-class  
          mail and all mail sent by governmental agencies to the  
          appropriate "Safe at Home" participants.

           Existing law  allows a participant in the "Safe at Home"  
          project, until January 1, 2013, to have the information  
          relating to his or her residence address, telephone number,  
          and e-mail address appearing on the participant's voter  
          registration card, or on any list, index, or roster of  
          registered voters, declared confidential.  Requires any  
          person granted confidentiality under this provision to  
          provide a valid mailing address and to be a permanent  
          vote-by-mail voter for all subsequent elections or until  
          the elections official is notified otherwise by the SOS or  
          in writing by the voter.

           This bill  removes the sunset provision and will instead  
          extend the provisions of the program indefinitely.

           Existing law  requires any records or documents pertaining  
          to a Safe at Home program participant to be retained and  
          held confidential for a period of three years after  
          termination of certification and then destroyed.

           This bill  instead requires that change of name records be  
          retained permanently by the SOS.

                                    BACKGROUND  
          
          The SOS's Safe at Home program was originally created in  
          1998 (SB 489, Alpert, Ch. 1005) for victims of actual or  
          threatened domestic violence.  Expanded in later years to  
          include victims of stalking (SB 1318, Alpert, Ch. 562,  
          2000), reproductive health care workers and patients (AB  
          797, Shelley, Ch. 380, 2002), adding voter registration  
          confidentiality to the program through (AB 603 Price, Ch.  
          586, 2007).  The program provides a designated address for  
          use by participants in public documents, mail and service  
          of process while keeping the participants' actual physical  
          addresses confidential.  Once accepted into the program,  
          participants are certified for a period of four years.  

          State and local agencies are required to accept the  
          substitute address designated by the SOS, and a participant  
          SB 1233 (OROPEZA)                                      Page  
          2  
           








          is able to request that his or her residence address and  
          phone number be kept confidential when applying for a  
          marriage license or when registering to vote.  Knowingly  
          providing false or misleading information on the  
          application is a misdemeanor.

                                     COMMENTS  
          
            1.  According to the author, Safe at Home is a  
              confidential address program administered by the SOS  
              that offers victims anonymity.  Participants can use a  
              free post office box instead of their home address to  
              help them maintain their privacy when receiving  
              first-class mail, opening a bank account, completing a  
              confidential name change, filling out government  
              documents, registering to vote, getting a driver's  
              license, enrolling a child in school, and more.

            Since its inception in 1999, the Safe at Home Program has  
              helped protect the identities of nearly 3,800 survivors  
              of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault, as  
              well as reproductive health care doctors, nurses,  
              volunteers and patients.

             2.  Permanent retention  .  Safe at Home participants often  
              legally change their name.  Existing law requires the  
              old name to be removed from court records and the new  
              name to be filed with the SOS.  As a result the SOS  
              maintains the only complete record of the participant's  
              confidential name change.  However, existing law also  
              requires all closed or terminated Safe at Home case  
              files to be shredded after three years, which means  
              Safe at Home participants who opt to legally file and  
              complete a confidential change of name risk losing all  
              records pertaining to their past name, if they leave  
              the program.  The bill will allow name changes of  
              program participants to be retained permanently,  
              mirroring existing law relative to court records.

             3.  Double referral  .  This bill has also been referred to  
              Senate Judiciary Committee.

             4.  Related legislation  .  SB 489 (Alpert), Chapter 1005,  
              Statutes of 1998 established the Safe at Home Program  
          SB 1233 (OROPEZA)                                      Page  
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              providing address confidentiality of domestic abuse  
              victims.  SB 1318 (Alpert), Chapter 562, Statutes of  
              2000 was expanded to include victims of stalking.  AB  
              797 (Shelley), Chapter 380 Statutes of 2002 expanded  
              protection to reproductive health care workers and  
              patients.  AB 2169 (Montanez), Chapter 475, Statutes of  
              2006 extended the Program's sunset to 2013.  AB 603  
              (Price), Chapter 234, Statutes of 2007 extended to 2013  
              a sunset to the provision on voter registration  
              confidentiality that was set to expire in 2008.

                                    POSITIONS  
          
          Sponsor: Secretary of State

           Support: American Congress of Obstetricians and  
                   Gynecologists
                    California State Sheriffs' Association (CSSA)
                    Crime Victims United of California (CVUC)
                    NARAL Pro-Choice California
                    State Public Affairs Committee (SPAC), Junior  
                   Leagues of California 

           Oppose:  None received


















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