BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



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          ASSEMBLY THIRD READING
          AB 849 (Garcia)
          As Amended May 24, 2013
          Majority vote 

           JUDICIARY           10-0        APPROPRIATIONS      17-0        
           
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          |Ayes:|Wieckowski, Wagner,       |Ayes:|Gatto, Harkey, Bigelow,   |
          |     |Alejo, Chau, Dickinson,   |     |Bocanegra, Bradford, Ian  |
          |     |Garcia, Gorell,           |     |Calderon, Campos,         |
          |     |Maienschein, Muratsuchi,  |     |Donnelly, Eggman, Gomez,  |
          |     |Stone                     |     |Hall, Ammiano, Linder,    |
          |     |                          |     |Pan, Quirk, Wagner, Weber |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
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           SUMMARY  :  Facilitates the participation of victims of elder or  
          dependent adult abuse in confidentiality protections contained  
          in the Safe at Home program.  Specifically,  this bill  :

          1)Requires the Secretary of State (SOS) to designate state and  
            local agencies and nonprofit agencies that provide counseling  
            and shelter services to victims of abuse of elder or dependent  
            adult to assist those persons in applying to participate in  
            the SOS Safe at Home address confidentiality program.   
            Requires the SOS to conduct outreach activities to identify  
            and recruit such agencies. 

          2)Specifies that an application to participate in the Safe at  
            Home program may be completed in person at a community-based  
            assistance program that serves victims of elder or dependent  
            adult abuse. 

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
          Committee, the SOS will incur General Fund (GF) costs of around  
          $75,000 in the first year and $65,000 annually thereafter for  
          one position to address increased program caseload. 

           COMMENTS  :  This bill seeks to protect the confidentiality of  
          addresses of those persons who are victims of abuse of an elder  
          or dependent adult by facilitating their participation in the  
          Safe at Home program, a program administered by the SOS. 

          Pursuant to SB 489 (Alpert), Chapter 1005, Statutes of 1998, the  








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          confidential address program, commonly referred to as the "Safe  
          at Home" program, was created to protect victims of domestic  
          violence from the disclosure of address information.  The "Safe  
          at Home" program allows victims of domestic violence or  
          stalking, who satisfy certain criteria, to request an alternate  
          address.  The SOS provides a substitute, publically accessible  
          address for these victims while protecting their actual  
          residences or locations.  The SOS also acts as the program  
          participants' agent for service of process and forwards mail  
          received to the victim's actual address.  The SOS is prohibited  
          from disclosing any address for the participant, other than the  
          designated program address, unless requested to do so by a law  
          enforcement agency, by a court order, or if certification for  
          participation in the program is cancelled.  A program  
          participant, once certified, may remain in the program for up to  
          four years, after which re-certification is required.  

          The Safe at Home program has been expanded several times since  
          its enactment.  The program was first expanded in 2000 to  
          include victims of stalking.  (SB 1318 (Alpert), Chapter 562,  
          Statutes of 2000.)  In 2002, the program was expanded to include  
          reproductive health care services providers, employers,  
          volunteers and patients with the purpose of preventing potential  
          acts of violence from being committed against those who assist  
          in the field of reproductive health care services and the  
          patients seeking those services.  (AB 797 (Shelley), Chapter  
          380, Statutes of 2002.)  The program was again expanded in 2006  
          to include victims of sexual abuse.  (SB 1062 (Bowen), Chapter  
          639, Statutes of 2006.)  Initially, the Safe at Home program was  
          set to expire on its sunset date in 2005.  However, the program  
          has been extended on several occasions until in 2010 the  
          Legislature extended the program indefinitely by removing its  
          sunset date.  (SB 1233 (Oropeza), Chapter 326, Statutes of  
          2010.)  

          The SOS is required to report to the Legislature each year on  
          the operation of the Safe at Home program.  According to its  
          most recent annual report, the program has served 6,260  
          participants since 1999.  The number of participants on January  
          1, 2011, was 2,735.  According to the SOS, the program is  
          designed to help victims and survivors of domestic violence,  
          stalking or sexual assault to start new lives in peace and to  
          provide added protections to their overall safety plans.  









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          To be eligible to become a Safe at Home program participant, an  
          individual, domiciled in California, must file an application  
          containing a sworn statement that he or she has good reason to  
          believe that he or she, or a minor child on whose behalf the  
          applicant is made is a victim of stalking and that the applicant  
          fears for his or her safety or his or her children's safety.   
          The applicant must also include either a police report  
          indicating the applicant is a victim of stalking, evidence from  
          a legal, clerical, medical, or other professional from whom the  
          applicant has sought assistance in dealing with the alleged  
          stalking, or any other evidence that supports the sworn  
          statement.  

          As introduced, this bill would have amended the Safe at Home  
          statute to expressly place victims of elder and dependent adult  
          abuse under that statute's protection.  However, according to  
          the SOS, the anti-stalking provisions of existing law are  
          already broad enough to include an elder or dependent adult who  
          are harassed by abusers to such an extent that he or she must  
          move to a new address.  Therefore, the bill as amended seeks to  
          clarify existing law and to facilitate participation by  
          authorizing agencies that serve elders and dependent adults to  
          assist them in enrolling in the Safe at Home program, if  
          necessary, and requiring the SOS to identify and recruit such  
          agencies. 

          According to the author, "there are cases in which an abused  
          elder has moved to a new address to escape a persistent abuser  
          and wants to keep the abuser from finding him or her.  In other  
          cases, a conservator may need to move an elder or dependent  
          adult to new housing or an assisted living facility following a  
          history of physical, emotional, and/or financial abuse by a  
          caregiver or other person, and want to ensure the  
          confidentiality of the new address.  In such cases,  
          [participating] in the "Safe at Home" program would give the  
          abused elders and dependent adults the added protection of the  
          address confidentiality program to help keep them safe from  
          their abusers."   


           Analysis Prepared by  :    Drew Liebert / JUD. / (916) 319-2334 
                                                                FN: 0000910










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