Legislature(2021 - 2022)BUTROVICH 205
05/06/2021 03:30 PM STATE AFFAIRS
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SB 115-ADDRESS CONFIDENTIALITY PROGRAM 5:52:08 PM CHAIR SHOWER announced the consideration of SENATE BILL NO. 115 "An Act relating to confidentiality of information; relating to the duties of the Department of Administration; creating an address confidentiality program; and providing for an effective date." 5:52:23 PM SENATOR JESSE KIEHL, Alaska State Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, sponsor of SB 115, stated that this legislation creates an address confidentiality program similar to what 41 other states have done. He recounted two stories to demonstrate the need for this program. The first was about a survivor of domestic violence who got out of a life-threatening marriage. She had a protective order against her abuser, moved to a new city, and received her mail at a post office box. He noted that this was before the days of social media. Quite some time later, she spotted her abuser waiting in a car outside the post office in her new city. Senator Kiehl said he didn't want to think what might have happened if she hadn't spotted her abuser. He said he learned about the second story from a friend who works in one of the law enforcement professions. It is not public. In summary, this individual and his family were threatened and to this day he fears for his home and his family. 5:53:00 PM SENATOR KIEHL explained that SB 115 is designed to balance safety for those who need it while maintaining the various public records. Survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, peace officers, and correctional officers could receive their mail - especially their public records mail - at a central state address. That mail would then be forwarded to the individual's actual mailing address that remains confidential and cannot be found through a public records search by an abuser or someone bent on revenge. SENATOR KIEHL advised that the Department of Administration would host the program and that mail would go to the confidential address for five years after the expiration of a protective order or the work of a peace officer or correctional officer ends. He committed to continue to work with the department, law enforcement, correctional officers, and victim advocates over the Interim to fine tune the bill for next session. This work will include a cost estimate based on the experience of other states. He said he hopes the cost will be small, but it is a cost worth paying to keep Alaskans safe. CHAIR SHOWER requested the sectional analysis. 5:57:17 PM EDRIC CARRILLO, Staff, Senator Jesse Kiehl, Alaska State Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, presented the following sectional analysis for SB 115. Sec. 1: Updates court laws to add confidentiality for peace officers and state and municipal correctional officers to existing laws for victims and witnesses Sec. 2: Personal address and telephone number of peace officers and correctional officers are confidential in court documents and must be redacted before release. Sec. 3: Personal address and telephone number of peace officers and correctional officers are confidential in open court and cannot be placed in court files unless ordered by the court. 5:57:55 PM Sec. 4: Defines state and municipal correctional officers. Sec. 5: Assigns the duty to administer an address confidentiality program to the Department of Administration. Sec. 6: Creates the new program, describing its purpose, requiring a Post Office Box as a substitute mailing address for enrollees, and requiring the department to adopt regulations. This section describes eligibility, requires state and municipal agency to accept the P.O. Box, and describes the five- year eligibility period. It lays out how that period may be extended and forbids the department from charging a fee. The section allows a peace officer access to an enrollee's personal address with a search warrant and establishes penalties for unlawfully revealing a protected individual's address. Sec. 7: Establishes a transition period for the department to adopt regulations to implement the bill. Sec. 8: Sets an immediate effective date for the process to adopt regulations. Sec. 9: Sets an effective date of Feb. 1, 2022 for the rest of the bill. 5:59:14 PM SENATOR COSTELLO asked if the bill had a provision to protect the addresses of individuals on the permanent fund dividend and voter registration rolls. SENATOR KIEHL replied, the bill does not change the underlying law on those addresses but a person participating in the registry could use the state protected address on their application. 6:00:30 PM SENATOR HOLLAND asked if any group was opposed to this legislation. SENATOR KIEHL answered that his office had not received any opposition, he was not expecting any opposition, and his office was working to make the cost acceptable. 6:01:22 PM CHAIR SHOWER asked if any consideration was given to including other categories of individuals such as judges or if the bill was a model legislation. MR. CARRILLO answered that the research so far indicates that the question has been considered but nothing has come of it. He offered to follow up. CHAIR SHOWER commented that there may be other categories of individuals that would benefit from being included. He said he liked the idea and would suggest casting the net as wide as possible. SENATOR REINBOLD suggested doing a risk benefit analysis because the list could become very broad. CHAIR SHOWER said he agrees but the concept is solid. SENATOR KIEHL said he would include those items in the analysis and the work with the department over the Interim. He noted that when he introduced similar legislation in the previous legislature someone made the insightful observation that regardless of the requirements, the department cannot erase somebody's Facebook page and other online records. Using himself as an example, he said he constantly posts on social media as part of his interaction with friends and constituents so he would not benefit from this registry. However, the people who will benefit are those who are seriously guarding their privacy daily from a major, violent threat. He reiterated that he would look at the other categories as part of the analysis. CHAIR SHOWER turned to invited testimony. 6:06:18 PM MATTHEW DUBOIS, representing self, Juneau, Alaska, stated that he has been a police officer with the Juneau Police Department (JPD) since 2007, he is a member of the Public Safety Employees Association (PSEA) union, and he sits on the board. He said he was speaking in favor of SB 115, and he had personal examples to support that position. The first was when a corrections officer contacted him to relay information he heard while monitoring a violent felon's prison phone conversation. The individual stated his intention to look up Officer DuBois's home address when he was released from jail and cause him harm. The second example relates to what is called extra patrol. This is when officers drive by another officer's home because they have received serious threats. He related that another alarming incident was learning about a webpage that had profiles of police officers in Fairbanks and North Pole. The data included the officers' home addresses, phone numbers, where their spouses worked, and where their children went to school. He concluded that SB 115 would not only protect the groups listed in the bill, but also their families. SENATOR KIEHL restated his commitment to continue to work with the people in law enforcement, the victim community, and the department to refine the bill. 6:09:40 PM CHAIR SHOWER opened public testimony on SB 115; finding none, he closed public testimony and advised that public testimony could be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. [SB 115 was held in committee.]