BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                       



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          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                  SB 1233|
          |Office of Senate Floor Analyses   |                         |
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                                 THIRD READING


          Bill No:  SB 1233
          Author:   Oropeza (D)
          Amended:  5/17/10
          Vote:     21

           
           SENATE ELEC., REAP. & CONST. AMEND. COMMITTEE  :  5-0, 4/6/10
          AYES:  Hancock, Denham, DeSaulnier, Liu, Strickland

           SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE  :  4-0, 4/13/10
          AYES:  Corbett, Hancock, Leno, Walters
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Harman

           SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE  :  10-0, 5/27/10
          AYES:  Kehoe, Alquist, Corbett, Denham, Leno, Price,  
            Walters, Wolk, Wyland, Yee


           SUBJECT :    Confidential address programs

           SOURCE  :     Secretary of State


           DIGEST  :    This bill removes the January 13, 2010 sunset  
          date on the Safe at Home project a confidential address  
          program that offers victim anonymity.

           ANALYSIS  :    Existing law establishes the following two  
          programs, until January 1, 2013, collectively known as the  
          "Safe At Home" project:  (1) 
          The Address Confidentiality for Victims of Domestic  
          Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking program; and (2) The  
          Address Confidentiality for Reproductive Health Care  
                                                           CONTINUED





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          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/her safety or  
          the safety of his/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/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/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.








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          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 SB  
          489 (Alpert), Chapter 1005, Statutes of 1998 for victims of  
          actual or threatened domestic violence.  Expanded in later  
          years to include victims of stalking, SB 1318 (Alpert),  
          Chapter 562, Statutes of 2000 reproductive health care  
          workers and patients (AB 797 [Shelley], Chapter 380,  
          Statutes of 2002) adding voter registration confidentiality  
          to the program through AB 603 (Price), Chapter 586,  
          Statutes of 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  
          is able to request that his/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.

           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 allows name changes of  
          program participants to be retained permanently, mirroring  
          existing law relative to court records.

           Related legislation








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          SB 489 (Alpert), Chapter 1005, Statutes of 1998  established  
          the Safe at Home Program 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.

          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.

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

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  Yes    
          Local:  Yes

          According to the Senate Appropriations Committee analysis,  
          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.   
          This bill permanently removes that sunset.  Full year  
          annual ongoing costs will be $606,000 beginning FY 2013-14.  







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           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. 

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  5/27/10)

          Secretary of State (source)
          ACOG - District IX
          CA Communities United Institute
          CA State Sheriff's Association
          Crime Victims United of CA
          Family Violence Law Center
          Junior Leagues of CA
          LA County District Attorney
          NARAL Pro-Choice CA
          Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health
          Planned Parenthood Affiliates of CA

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the author's office,  
          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.


          DLW:do  5/28/10   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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