ENGROSSED SENATE BILL 5906
State of Washington 52nd Legislature 1991 Regular Session
By Senators Rinehart, McCaslin and Talmadge.
Read first time March 4, 1991. Referred to Committee on Governmental Operations.
AN ACT Relating to protecting persons seriously threatened by domestic violence by restricting disclosure of their names or addresses; amending RCW 42.17.310, 42.17.311, and 29.01.155; adding a new section to chapter 26.04 RCW; adding a new chapter to Title 40 RCW; creating a new section; providing an effective date; and declaring an emergency.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. The legislature finds that persons attempting to escape from actual or threatened domestic violence frequently establish new addresses in order to prevent their assailants or probable assailants from finding them. The purpose of this chapter is to enable state and local agencies to respond to requests for public records without disclosing the location of a victim of domestic violence, to enable interagency cooperation with the secretary of state in providing address confidentiality for victims of domestic violence, and to 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.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 2. Unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter.
(1) "Address" means a residential street address, school address, or work address of an individual, as specified on the individual's application to be a program participant under this chapter.
(2) "Program participant" means a person certified as a program participant under section 3 of this act.
(3) "Domestic violence" means an act as defined in RCW 10.99.020 and includes a threat of such acts committed against an individual in a domestic situation, regardless of whether these acts or threats have been reported to law enforcement officers.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 3. (1) An adult person, a parent or guardian acting on behalf of a minor, or a guardian acting on behalf of an incapacitated person, as defined in RCW 11.88.010, 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. 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:
(a) A sworn statement by the applicant that the applicant has good reason to believe (i) that the applicant, or the minor or incapacitated person on whose behalf the application is made, is a victim of domestic violence; and (ii) 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;
(b) A designation of the secretary of state as agent for purposes of service of process and for the purpose of receipt of mail;
(c) 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;
(d) The new address or addresses that the applicant requests not be disclosed for the reason that disclosure will increase the risk of domestic violence;
(e) The signature of the applicant and of any individual or representative of any office designated in writing under section 8 of this act who assisted in the preparation of the application, and the date on which the applicant signed the application.
(2) Applications shall be filed with the office of the secretary of state.
(3) 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.
(4) 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, shall be punishable under RCW 40.16.030 or other applicable statutes.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 4. (1) If the program participant obtains a name change, he or she loses certification as a program participant.
(2) The secretary of state may cancel a program participant's certification if there is a change in the residential address from the one listed on the application, unless the program participant provides the secretary of state with seven days' prior notice of the change of address.
(3) The secretary of state may cancel certification of a program participant if mail forwarded by the secretary to the program participant's address is returned as nondeliverable.
(4) The secretary of state shall cancel certification of a program participant who applies using false information.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 5. (1) A program participant may request that state and local agencies use the address designated by the secretary of state as his or her address. When creating a new public record, state and local agencies shall accept the address designated by the secretary of state as a program participant's substitute address, unless the secretary of state has determined that:
(a) The agency has a bona fide statutory or administrative requirement for the use of the address which would otherwise be confidential under this chapter; and
(b) This address will be used only for those statutory and administrative purposes.
(2) A program participant may use the address designated by the secretary of state as his or her work address.
(3) The office of the secretary of state shall forward all first class mail to the appropriate program participants.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 6. (1) A program participant who is otherwise qualified to vote may apply as a service voter under RCW 29.01.155. The program participant shall automatically receive absentee ballots for all elections in the jurisdictions for which that individual resides in the same manner as absentee voters who qualify under RCW 29.36.013, except that the program participant shall not be required to reapply following January 1st of each odd-numbered year. The county auditor shall transmit the absentee ballot to the program participant at the address designated by the participant in his or her application as a service voter. Neither the name nor the address of a program participant shall be included in any list of registered voters available to the public.
(2) The county auditor may not make the participant's address contained in voter registration records available for public inspection or copying except under the following circumstances:
(a) If requested by a law enforcement agency, to the law enforcement agency; and
(b) If directed by a court order, to a person identified in the order.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 7. The secretary of state may not make a program participant's address, other than the address designated by the secretary of state, available for inspection or copying, except under the following circumstances:
(1) If requested by a law enforcement agency, to the law enforcement agency;
(2) If directed by a court order, to a person identified in the order; and
(3) If certification has been canceled.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 8. The secretary of state shall designate state and local agencies and nonprofit agencies that provide counseling and shelter services to victims of domestic violence to assist persons applying to be program participants. 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.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 9. The secretary of state may adopt rules to facilitate the administration of this chapter by state and local agencies.
Sec. 10. RCW 42.17.310 and 1991 c 1 s 1 are each amended to read as follows:
(1) The following are exempt from public inspection and copying:
(a) Personal information in any files maintained for students in public schools, patients or clients of public institutions or public health agencies, or welfare recipients.
(b) Personal information in files maintained for employees, appointees, or elected officials of any public agency to the extent that disclosure would violate their right to privacy.
(c) Information required of any taxpayer in connection with the assessment or collection of any tax if the disclosure of the information to other persons would (i) be prohibited to such persons by RCW 82.32.330 or (ii) violate the taxpayer's right to privacy or result in unfair competitive disadvantage to the taxpayer.
(d) Specific intelligence information and specific investigative records compiled by investigative, law enforcement, and penology agencies, and state agencies vested with the responsibility to discipline members of any profession, the nondisclosure of which is essential to effective law enforcement or for the protection of any person's right to privacy.
(e) Information revealing the identity of persons who file complaints with investigative, law enforcement, or penology agencies, other than the public disclosure commission, if disclosure would endanger any person's life, physical safety, or property. If at the time the complaint is filed the complainant indicates a desire for disclosure or nondisclosure, such desire shall govern. However, all complaints filed with the public disclosure commission about any elected official or candidate for public office must be made in writing and signed by the complainant under oath.
(f) Test questions, scoring keys, and other examination data used to administer a license, employment, or academic examination.
(g) Except as provided by chapter 8.26 RCW, the contents of real estate appraisals, made for or by any agency relative to the acquisition or sale of property, until the project or prospective sale is abandoned or until such time as all of the property has been acquired or the property to which the sale appraisal relates is sold, but in no event shall disclosure be denied for more than three years after the appraisal.
(h) Valuable formulae, designs, drawings, and research data obtained by any agency within five years of the request for disclosure when disclosure would produce private gain and public loss.
(i) Preliminary drafts, notes, recommendations, and intra-agency memorandums in which opinions are expressed or policies formulated or recommended except that a specific record shall not be exempt when publicly cited by an agency in connection with any agency action.
(j) Records which are relevant to a controversy to which an agency is a party but which records would not be available to another party under the rules of pretrial discovery for causes pending in the superior courts.
(k) Records, maps, or other information identifying the location of archaeological sites in order to avoid the looting or depredation of such sites.
(l) Any library record, the primary purpose of which is to maintain control of library materials, or to gain access to information, which discloses or could be used to disclose the identity of a library user.
(m) Financial information supplied by or on behalf of a person, firm, or corporation for the purpose of qualifying to submit a bid or proposal for (a) a ferry system construction or repair contract as required by RCW 47.60.680 through 47.60.750 or (b) highway construction or improvement as required by RCW 47.28.070.
(n) Railroad company contracts filed with the utilities and transportation commission under RCW 81.34.070, except that the summaries of the contracts are open to public inspection and copying as otherwise provided by this chapter.
(o) Financial and commercial information and records supplied by private persons pertaining to export services provided pursuant to chapter 43.163 RCW and chapter 53.31 RCW.
(p) Financial disclosures filed by private vocational schools under chapter 28C.10 RCW.
(q) Records filed with the utilities and transportation commission or attorney general under RCW 80.04.095 that a court has determined are confidential under RCW 80.04.095.
(r) Financial and commercial information and records supplied by businesses during application for loans or program services provided by chapter 43.163 RCW and chapters 43.31, 43.63A, and 43.168 RCW.
(s) Membership lists or lists of members or owners of interests of units in timeshare projects, subdivisions, camping resorts, condominiums, land developments, or common-interest communities affiliated with such projects, regulated by the department of licensing, in the files or possession of the department.
(t) All applications for public employment, including the names of applicants, resumes, and other related materials submitted with respect to an applicant.
(u) The residential addresses and residential telephone numbers of employees or volunteers of a public agency which are held by the agency in personnel records, employment or volunteer rosters, or mailing lists of employees or volunteers.
(v) The residential addresses and residential telephone numbers of the customers of a public utility contained in the records or lists held by the public utility of which they are customers.
(w) Information obtained by the board of pharmacy as provided in RCW 69.45.090.
(x) Information obtained by the board of pharmacy and its representatives as provided in RCW 69.41.044 and 69.41.280.
(y) Financial information, business plans, examination reports, and any information produced or obtained in evaluating or examining a business and industrial development corporation organized or seeking certification under chapter 31.24 RCW.
(z) Financial and commercial information supplied to the state investment board by any person when the information relates to the investment of public trust or retirement funds and when disclosure would result in loss to such funds or in private loss to the providers of this information.
(aa) Financial and valuable trade information under RCW 51.36.120.
Effective April 19, 1991, the work and home addresses, other than the city of
residence, of a person shall remain undisclosed or be omitted from all
documents made available for public review if that person requests in writing,
under oath, that these addresses be kept private because disclosure would
endanger his or her life, physical safety, or property. This provision does
not in any way restrict the sharing or collection of information by state and
local governmental agencies required for the daily administration of their
duties. The secretary of state shall administer this provision and establish
the procedures and rules that are necessary for its operation. An agency that
has not been furnished with a request for confidentiality of address
information is not liable for damages resulting from its disclosure of the
information. For purpose of service of process, the secretary of state shall
serve as agent for each person who submits a request under this subsection. A
request shall be of no force or effect if the requester does not include a
statement, along with or part of the request, designating the secretary of
state as agent of the requester for purposes of service of process.))
(2) Except for information described in subsection (1)(c)(i) of this section and confidential income data exempted from public inspection pursuant to RCW 84.40.020, the exemptions of this section are inapplicable to the extent that information, the disclosure of which would violate personal privacy or vital governmental interests, can be deleted from the specific records sought. No exemption may be construed to permit the nondisclosure of statistical information not descriptive of any readily identifiable person or persons.
(3) Inspection or copying of any specific records exempt under the provisions of this section may be permitted if the superior court in the county in which the record is maintained finds, after a hearing with notice thereof to every person in interest and the agency, that the exemption of such records is clearly unnecessary to protect any individual's right of privacy or any vital governmental function.
(4) Agency responses refusing, in whole or in part, inspection of any public record shall include a statement of the specific exemption authorizing the withholding of the record (or part) and a brief explanation of how the exemption applies to the record withheld.
Sec. 11. RCW 42.17.311 and 1990 c 256 s 2 are each amended to read as follows:
in RCW 42.17.310(1) (t) through (v) ((
and (bb))) shall affect a positive
duty of an agency to disclose or a positive duty to withhold information which
duty to disclose or withhold is contained in any other law.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 12. A new section is added to chapter 26.04 RCW to read as follows:
If a program participant under chapter 40.--- RCW (sections 1 through 9 of this act) notifies the appropriate county auditor as required under rules adopted by the secretary of state, the county auditor shall not make available for inspection or copying the name and address of a program participant contained in marriage applications and records filed under chapter 26.04 RCW, except under the following circumstances:
(1) If requested by a law enforcement agency, to the law enforcement agency; and
(2) If directed by a court order, to a person identified in the order.
Sec. 13. RCW 29.01.155 and 1987 c 346 s 8 are each amended to read as follows:
"Service voter" means any elector of the state of Washington who is a member of the armed forces under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1973 ff-6 while in active service, is a student or member of the faculty at a United States military academy, is a member of the merchant marine of the United States, is a program participant as defined in section 2 of this 1991 act, or is a member of a religious group or welfare agency officially attached to and serving with the armed forces of the United States.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 14. The office of the secretary of state shall collect information from applicants regarding additional records for which a substitute address may not be possible but for which address information protection may be desirable. The secretary of state shall report to the legislature by July 1, 1992, on the information obtained from applicants under this section.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 15. Sections 1 through 9 of this act shall constitute a new chapter in Title 40 RCW.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 16. (1) Sections 10 and 11 of this act are necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and shall take effect immediately.
(2) Sections 1 through 9 and 12 through 15 of this act are necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and shall take effect July 1, 1991.