BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    




                   Senate Appropriations Committee Fiscal Summary
                           Senator Christine Kehoe, Chair

                                           1233 (Oropeza)
          
          Hearing Date:  04/26/2010           Amended: 03/22/2010
          Consultant:  Maureen Ortiz      Policy Vote: ER&CA: 5-0 Jud: 4-0
          _________________________________________________________________ 
          ____
          BILL SUMMARY:   SB 1233 removes the sunset for the "Safe at  
          Home" programs, and requires the Secretary of State to  
          permanently retain name change records for program participants.
          _________________________________________________________________ 
          ____
                            Fiscal Impact (in thousands)

           Major Provisions         2010-11      2011-12       2012-13     Fund
                                                                  
          Safe at Home extension               $0                      $0   
                           $303           General
          _________________________________________________________________ 
          ____

          STAFF COMMENTS:  This bill meets the criteria for referral to  
          the Suspense file.

          The Safe at Home program, known as the "Address Confidentiality  
          for Victims of Domestic Violence and Stalking", is scheduled to  
          be repealed on January 1, 2013.  
          SB 1233 permanently removes that sunset.  Full year annual  
          ongoing costs will be $606,000 beginning FY 2013-14.  In  
          addition to conducting outreach, processing applications and  
          mail, and providing assistance to participants, staff also  
          provides training for and responds to calls from over 325 Safe  
          at Home enrolling agencies statewide.
          
          The Safe at Home program was originally created by SB 489  
          (Alpert), Chapter 1005, Statutes of 1998, to allow victims of  
          domestic violence or stalking to apply to the Secretary of State  
          (SOS) to request an alternate address be used in public records.  
           The SOS provides a substitute address for these victims while  
          protecting their actual residences, and also acts as the  
          participants' agent for service of process and forwards mail  
          received at the substitute address.  A participate must be  
          certified, and may stay in the program for four years unless  
          recertified.  Any person filing a new affidavit of voter  










          registration may have the information relating to his or her  
          residence address, telephone number, and email address declared  
          confidential, as well as having their DMV information  
          suppressed.

          In 2002, the Safe at Home program was expanded to include  
          reproductive health care services providers, employees,  
          volunteers and patients who are fearful of their safety.  Since  
          the inception of the Safe at Home program, over 4,900 survivors  
          of domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault, as well as  
          reproductive health care doctors, nurses, volunteers and  
          patients have been protected. The number of current active  
          participants is 2,437, of which approximately 43% are children.   
          During 2009, more than 244,000 pieces of mail were forwarded to  
          program participants.  The sunset has been extended twice since  
          the inception of the program.  SB 1233 will remove the sunset,  
          thereby making the program permanent. 

          SB 1233 (Oropeza)
          Page 2



          Existing law provides that any records or documents pertaining  
          to the Safe at Home program shall be retained for a period of  
          three years after termination of certification in the program.   
          SB 1233 provides that name change records will be retained by  
          the SOS permanently.  Safe at Home participants often legally  
          change their name.  Part of the address confidentiality  
          provision exempts the publishing of the name change in a  
          newspaper of general circulation, and also requires the courts  
          to keep the name change confidential.  Existing law requires the  
          old name to be removed from court records and the new name to be  
          filed with the Secretary of State.  As a result, the Secretary  
          of State maintains the only complete record of the participant's  
          confidential name change.  Since records are currently destroyed  
          three years after the participant no longer participates in the  
          Safe at Home program, all of the records pertaining to a  
          participant's previous name are lost.  This bill will require  
          the SOS to maintain all name change records permanently.  This  
          is consistent with the requirements currently imposed on trial  
          court clerks with respect to the maintenance of name change  
          court records for individuals who are not participants in the  
          Safe at Home program.

          According to the Safe at Home 2009 Annual Report released by the  










          Secretary of State on January 8, 2010, some of the program  
          highlights in 2009 were:  

          1)  Partnering with the Judicial Council to ensure Safe at Home  
          participants are protected from publication of confidential name  
          changes in any public forum including the Internet and court  
          calendars,

          2)  Strengthening the security of the Safe at Home database,  
          reducing operating expenses, and expanding outreach efforts to  
          minority communities, and

          3)  Compiling a detailed procedure manual to serve as both a  
          training tool in California and a model for other states.