BILL NO A00628A
SAME AS SAME AS S05293
SPONSOR Weinstein (MS)
COSPNSR Destito, Clark, Glick, Jaffee, Paulin, Schroeder, Dinowitz
MLTSPNSR Galef, McEneny, Millman, Molinaro
Add S108, Exec L
Establishes an address confidentiality program in the office of the secretary
of state for domestic violence victims who need to maintain confidentiality of
their location; authorizes the secretary of state to accept service of process
and receipt of mail on behalf of a program participant.
NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A628A
SPONSOR: Weinstein (MS)
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the executive law, in relation to
authorizing the secretary of state to accept service of process and
receipt of mail on behalf of victims of domestic violence for the
purpose of maintaining the confidentiality of the location of such
PURPOSE OF BILL: Directs the Secretary of State to accept service of
process and mail on behalf of victims of domestic violence wishing to
keep their location secret.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Adds a new section 108 to the Executive Law to
allow victims of domestic violence to designate the Secretary of State
as their agent for purposes of service of process and receipt of mail.
JUSTIFICATION: Persons attempting to escape from actual or threatened
domestic violence frequently establish new addresses in order to prevent
their abusers from finding them. A victim of domestic violence who fears
for his or her safety or the safety of his or her children and who has
left his or her home as a result of domestic violence should be afforded
the opportunity to keep their address confidential to prevent against
the threat of domestic violence to themselves and/or their children.
Violence frequently escalates when batterers believe they are losing
control of their victims. Statistically, the most dangerous time for
survivors is during and immediately after their separation from abusers.
When victims attempt to flee, they are at greatest risk of serious inju-
ry or death. Domestic violence offenders routinely pursue victims to new
locations to further harass and abuse the survivor. Batterers often
search public records to obtain their victim's physical address to stalk
them. This legislation would provide victims the ability to have their
mailing address remain anonymous by providing a substitute address for
them to use in lieu of their actual address. Upon receipt by the Secre-
tary of State of a process or mail for a victim of domestic violence,
the Department shall immediately forward such process or mail to the
victim of domestic violence.
There are about thirty-three states that have some form of address
confidentiality program. This legislation will enable interagency coop-
eration with the secretary of state in providing name and address confi-
dentiality for victims of domestic violence, and will enable state and
local agencies to accept a program participant's use of an address
designated by the secretary of state as a substitute mailing address. In
addition, this bill will enable state and local agencies to respond to
requests for public records without disclosing the location of a victim
of domestic violence.
The Secretary of State is authorized and directed to promulgate all
necessary rules and regulations for the implementation of this program.
2010; A.10180/S.7379 - Veto #6764 '10
2009; A.2858-A/S.3580-A - Veto #8 '09
2007-08; A.2990 - Passed Assembly
2006; A.11362-A - Passed Assembly
2003-04; A.4299 - A. Gov. Ops.
2001-02; A.7737 - A. Gov. Ops.
Hochberg/S.6435 - A. Gov. Ops./S. Rules
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS: Minimal, offset
by savings from reduced need to access safety net services including
police, shelter and health care systems.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect nine months from the date
on which it shall have become a law.
STATE OF NEW YORK
2011-2012 Regular Sessions
January 5, 2011
Introduced by M. of A. WEINSTEIN, DESTITO, CLARK, GLICK, JAFFEE, PAULIN,
SCHROEDER, DINOWITZ -- Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of A. GALEF, McENENY,
MILLMAN -- read once and referred to the Committee on Governmental
Operations -- reported and referred to the Committee on Codes --
committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and
recommitted to said committee
AN ACT to amend the executive law, in relation to authorizing the secre-
tary of state to accept service of process and receipt of mail on
behalf of victims of domestic violence for the purpose of maintaining
the confidentiality of the location of such victims
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. The executive law is amended by adding a new section 108 to
2 read as follows:
3 § 108. Address confidentiality program. There is created in the
4 office of the secretary of state a program to be known as the "address
5 confidentiality program" to protect victims of domestic violence by
6 authorizing the use of designated addresses for such victims and their
7 minor children. The program shall be administered by the secretary of
9 1. Definitions. For the purposes of this section the following words
10 shall, unless the context requires otherwise, have the following mean-
12 (a) "Victim of domestic violence" shall have the same meaning as is
13 ascribed to such term by section four hundred fifty-nine-a of the social
14 services law.
15 (b) "Actual address" means the residential street address, school
16 address or work address of an individual, as specified on his or her
17 application to be a program participant under this section.
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.
A. 628--A 2
1 (c) "Program participant" means a person certified as a program
2 participant under this section.
3 (d) "Mail" means first class letters delivered via the United States
4 Postal Service, including priority, express and certified mail, and
5 excluding packages, parcels, periodicals and catalogues, unless they are
6 clearly identifiable as pharmaceuticals or clearly indicate that they
7 are sent by a government agency.
8 (e) "Substitute address" means the secretary's designated address for
9 the address confidentiality program.
10 (f) "Secretary" means the secretary of state.
11 2. Address confidentiality program; application; certification. (a)
12 An adult person, a parent or legal guardian acting on behalf of a minor,
13 or a legal guardian acting on behalf of an incapacitated person, may
14 apply to the secretary to have an address designated by the secretary to
15 serve as the person's address or address of the minor or incapacitated
16 person in lieu of the person's actual address. The secretary shall
17 approve an application if it is filed in the manner and on the form
18 prescribed by the secretary, and if it includes:
19 (i) A signed written statement made under oath by the applicant that:
20 (A) the applicant, or the minor or incapacitated person on whose
21 behalf the application is made, is a victim of domestic violence;
22 (B) the applicant, or the minor or incapacitated person on whose
23 behalf the application is made, has left his or her residence because of
24 such violence;
25 (C) the applicant fears for his or her safety or his or her children's
26 safety, or the safety of the minor or incapacitated person on whose
27 behalf the application is made; and
28 (D) the parent or legal guardian applying on behalf of a minor or
29 incapacitated person has legal authority to act on the person's behalf;
30 (ii) a designation of the secretary as agent for purposes of service
31 of process and for the purpose of receipt of mail;
32 (iii) the mailing address where the applicant can be contacted by the
33 secretary and the telephone number or numbers where the applicant can be
34 called by the secretary;
35 (iv) the actual address or addresses that the applicant requests not
36 be disclosed because of the increased risk of domestic violence; and
37 (v) the signature of the applicant and the name and signature of any
38 individual or representative of any office designated by the secretary
39 under subdivision three of this section who assisted in the preparation
40 of the application, and the date on which the applicant signed the
42 (b) The secretary shall establish, distribute and make available a
43 form for the purpose of making applications pursuant to this section.
44 (c) Applications shall be filed with the office of the secretary.
45 (d) Upon receipt of a properly completed application, the secretary
46 shall certify the applicant as a program participant and shall serve as
47 the participant's agent for service of process and receipt of mail for
48 the duration of the term of certification.
49 (e) Participants shall be certified for four years following the date
50 of filing, unless the certification is withdrawn or cancelled before
51 that date. The secretary shall promulgate rules and regulations for
52 renewal of applications pursuant to this section.
53 3. Designation of agencies to assist applicants. The secretary shall
54 designate state, local or nonprofit agencies that provide counseling,
55 referral, shelter or other specialized services to victims of domestic
56 violence to assist persons applying to be program participants. Such
A. 628--A 3
1 persons providing assistance shall be trained by the secretary. Any
2 assistance and counseling rendered by an officer of the secretary or his
3 or her designees to applicants shall in no way be construed as legal
5 4. Use and acceptance of substitute address; mail forwarding. (a) A
6 program participant may request that state and local agencies use the
7 substitute address. When creating, modifying or maintaining a public
8 record, state and local agencies shall accept the substitute address
9 upon demonstration by a program participant of his or her certification
10 in the program, unless the secretary waives this requirement after
11 determining that:
12 (i) the agency has a bona fide statutory or administrative requirement
13 for the use of the participant's actual address which would otherwise be
14 confidential under this section; and
15 (ii) the agency has explained how its acceptance of the substitute
16 address will prevent the agency from meeting its obligations under the
17 law and why it cannot meet its statutory or administrative obligation by
18 a change in its internal procedures.
19 (b) Any agency receiving a waiver shall maintain the confidentiality
20 of the program participant's address by redacting the actual address
21 when the record is released to any person and shall not make the program
22 participant's actual address available for inspection or copying, except
23 under the following circumstances:
24 (i) if requested by a law enforcement agency for a legitimate law
25 enforcement purpose as determined by the law enforcement agency; or
26 (ii) if directed by a court order to a person identified in the order.
27 (c) Upon receipt by the secretary of a process or mail for a partic-
28 ipant, the office of the secretary shall immediately forward all such
29 process or mail to the appropriate program participants at their actual
30 address, and shall record the date of such forwarding.
31 (d) A program participant may use the substitute address as his or her
32 work address.
33 (e) The secretary or any member of the department of state who reason-
34 ably and in good faith handles any process or mail on behalf of a
35 participant in accordance with this section shall be immune from any
36 civil liability which might otherwise result by reason of such actions.
37 5. Cancellation of certification. (a) The secretary may cancel a
38 program participant's certification if, after the passage of fourteen
40 (i) from the date of changing his or her name, the program participant
41 does not notify the secretary that he or she has obtained a name change;
42 however, the program participant may reapply under his or her new name;
43 (ii) from the date of changing his or her actual address, the program
44 participant fails to notify the secretary of the change of such address;
46 (iii) from the date the secretary first receives mail, forwarded to
47 the program participant's address, returned as non-deliverable.
48 (b) The secretary shall cancel certification of a program participant
49 who applies using false information.
50 (c) The secretary shall cancel certification of a program participant
51 if the participant's certification term has expired and certification
52 renewal has not been completed.
53 (d) The secretary shall send notice of cancellation to the program
54 participant. Notice of cancellation shall set out the reasons for
55 cancellation. The program participant shall have thirty days to appeal
56 the cancellation decision under procedures developed by the secretary.
A. 628--A 4
1 (e) Program participants may withdraw from the program by giving the
2 secretary written notice of their withdrawal and his or her current
3 identification card. The secretary shall establish, by rule, a secure
4 procedure for ensuring that the request for withdrawal is legitimate.
5 (f) Any records or documents pertaining to a program participant shall
6 not be a public record and shall be retained and held confidential for a
7 period of three years after termination of certification and then
9 6. Disclosure of participant's address prohibited; exceptions. The
10 secretary shall not make a program participant's address, other than the
11 substitute address, available for inspection or copying, except under
12 any of the following circumstances:
13 (a) if requested by a law enforcement agency for a legitimate law
14 enforcement purpose as determined by the law enforcement agency; or
15 (b) to a person identified in a court order, upon the secretary's
16 receipt of that court order which specifically orders the disclosure of
17 a particular program participant's address and the reasons stated there-
18 for; or
19 (c) to verify the participation of a specific program participant, in
20 which case the secretary may only confirm information supplied by the
22 7. Rules and regulations. The secretary shall promulgate rules and
23 regulations necessary to implement the provisions of this section.
24 8. Report to the legislature. The secretary shall submit to the
25 legislature, no later than February first of each year, a report that
26 includes for each county, the total number of applications received, the
27 total number of persons participating in the program established by this
28 section during the previous calendar year and the total number of pieces
29 of mail forwarded to program participants during the previous calendar
31 § 2. This act shall take effect nine months after the date it shall
32 have become a law; provided, however, that the secretary of state is
33 authorized and directed to promulgate all rules, regulations and forms
34 necessary to implement the provisions of this act, on its effective
35 date, on or before such date.