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AB-849 Protection of victims: address confidentiality.(2013-2014)

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Assembly Bill No. 849
CHAPTER 676

An act to amend Sections 6206 and 6208.5 of the Government Code, relating to public records.

[ Approved by Governor  October 09, 2013. Filed with Secretary of State  October 09, 2013. ]

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 849, Garcia. Protection of victims: address confidentiality.
Existing law authorizes victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking to complete an application in person at a community‑based victims’ assistance program to be approved by the Secretary of State for the purpose of enabling state and local agencies to respond to requests for public records without disclosing a program participant’s residence address contained in any public record and otherwise provide for confidentiality of identity for that person, subject to specified conditions. Any person who makes a false statement in an application is guilty of a misdemeanor.
This bill would authorize the application to be completed at a community‑based assistance program that serves victims of elder or dependent adult abuse, as specified. This bill would also require the Secretary of State to conduct outreach activities to identify and recruit state and local agencies and nonprofit agencies that provide counseling and shelter services to victims, as specified.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 6206 of the Government Code is amended to read:

6206.
 (a) An adult person, a parent or guardian acting on behalf of a minor, or a guardian acting on behalf of an incapacitated person, who is domiciled in California, may apply to the Secretary of State to have an address designated by the Secretary of State serve as the person’s address or the address of the minor or incapacitated person. An application shall be completed in person at a community-based victims’ assistance program or a community-based assistance program that serves victims of elder or dependent adult abuse pursuant to the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (Chapter 11 (commencing with Section 15600) of Part 3 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code). The application process shall include a requirement that the applicant shall meet with a victims’ assistance counselor and receive orientation information about the program. The Secretary of State shall approve an application if it is filed in the manner and on the form prescribed by the Secretary of State and if it contains all of the following:
(1) A sworn statement by the applicant that the applicant has good reason to believe both of the following:
(A) That the applicant, or the minor or incapacitated person on whose behalf the application is made, is a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
(B) That the applicant fears for his or her safety or his or her children’s safety, or the safety of the minor or incapacitated person on whose behalf the application is made.
(2) If the applicant alleges that the basis for the application is that the applicant, or the minor or incapacitated person on whose behalf the application is made, is a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault, the application may be accompanied by evidence including, but not limited to, any of the following:
(A) Police, court, or other government agency records or files.
(B) Documentation from a domestic violence or sexual assault program if the person is alleged to be a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault.
(C) Documentation from a legal, clerical, medical, or other professional from whom the applicant or person on whose behalf the application is made has sought assistance in dealing with the alleged domestic violence or sexual assault.
(D) Any other evidence that supports the sworn statement, such as a statement from any other individual with knowledge of the circumstances that provides the basis for the claim, or physical evidence of the act or acts of domestic violence or sexual assault.
(3) If the applicant alleges that the basis for the application is that the applicant, or the minor or incapacitated person on whose behalf the application is made, is a victim of stalking, the application may be accompanied by evidence including, but not limited to, any of the following:
(A) Police, court, or other government agency records or files.
(B) Documentation from a legal, clerical, medical, or other professional from whom the applicant or person on whose behalf the application is made has sought assistance in dealing with the alleged stalking.
(C) Any other evidence that supports the sworn statement, such as a sworn statement from any other individual with knowledge of the circumstances that provide the basis for the claim, or physical evidence of the act or acts of stalking.
(4) The name and last known address of the applicant’s minor child or children, the name and last known address of the other parent or parents of the minor child or children of the applicant, and all court orders related to the minor child or children of the applicant, and legal counsel of record in those cases.
(5) A designation of the Secretary of State as agent for purposes of service of process and for the purpose of receipt of mail.
(A) Service on the Secretary of State of any summons, writ, notice, demand, or process shall be made by delivering to the address confidentiality program personnel of the office of the Secretary of State two copies of the summons, writ, notice, demand, or process.
(B) If a summons, writ, notice, demand, or process is served on the Secretary of State, the Secretary of State shall immediately cause a copy to be forwarded to the program participant at the address shown on the records of the address confidentiality program so that the summons, writ, notice, demand, or process is received by the program participant within three days of the Secretary of State’s having received it.
(C) The Secretary of State shall keep a record of all summonses, writs, notices, demands, and processes served upon the Secretary of State under this section and shall record the time of that service and the Secretary of State’s action.
(D) The office of the Secretary of State and any agent or person employed by the Secretary of State shall be held harmless from any liability in any action brought by any person injured or harmed as a result of the handling of first-class mail on behalf of program participants.
(6) The mailing address where the applicant can be contacted by the Secretary of State, and the phone number or numbers where the applicant can be called by the Secretary of State.
(7) The address or addresses that the applicant requests not be disclosed for the reason that disclosure will increase the risk of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.
(8) The signature of the applicant and of any individual or representative of any office designated in writing under Section 6208.5 who assisted in the preparation of the application, and the date on which the applicant signed the application.
(b) Applications shall be filed with the office of the Secretary of State.
(c) Upon filing a properly completed application, the Secretary of State shall certify the applicant as a program participant. Applicants shall be certified for four years following the date of filing unless the certification is withdrawn or invalidated before that date. The Secretary of State shall by rule establish a renewal procedure. A minor program participant, who reaches 18 years of age during his or her enrollment, may renew as an adult following the renewal procedures established by the Secretary of State.
(d) Upon certification, the Secretary of State shall, within 10 days, notify the other parent or parents identified pursuant to paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) of the designation of the Secretary of State as agent for purposes of service of process and, unless there is a court order prohibiting contact, the address designated by the Secretary of State for the program participant. The notice shall be given by mail, return receipt requested, postage prepaid, to the last known address of the other parent to be notified. A copy shall also be sent to that parent’s counsel of record, if provided to the Secretary of State by the applicant.
(e) A person who falsely attests in an application that disclosure of the applicant’s address would endanger the applicant’s safety or the safety of the applicant’s children or the minor or incapacitated person on whose behalf the application is made, or who knowingly provides false or incorrect information upon making an application, is guilty of a misdemeanor. A notice shall be printed in bold type and in a conspicuous location on the face of the application informing the applicant of the penalties under this subdivision.

SEC. 2.

 Section 6208.5 of the Government Code is amended to read:

6208.5.
 The Secretary of State shall designate state and local agencies and nonprofit agencies that provide counseling and shelter services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, as well as agencies that serve victims of elder or dependent adult abuse pursuant to the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (Chapter 11 (commencing with Section 15600) of Part 3 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code) to assist victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking applying to be program participants. The Secretary of State shall conduct outreach activities to identify and recruit the agencies. Any assistance and counseling rendered by the office of the Secretary of State or its designees to applicants shall in no way be construed as legal advice.