STATE HOUSE – The Senate yesterday approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown) to help protect domestic violence and abuse victims by maintaining the confidentiality of their addresses.
The legislation (2022-S 2659A) would expand and strengthen the existing confidentiality system for voter registration through the creation of the Address Confidentiality Program. It would enable a victim of domestic violence or abuse to apply to the Secretary of State to have an address designated by the Secretary to serve as the person’s substitute address. Once an application is accepted, the substitute address would be used for that person’s mail and legal notifications.
“Far too often, survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, or other abuse face continued harassment and intimidation from their abuser. This prevents survivors from healing and puts their safety at continued risk,” Sen. Euer said. “The Address Confidentiality Program will create a pathway for survivors and their families to safely participate in the many public aspects of life, which is something everyone deserves. I want to thank the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence for its assistance and advocacy, and the Secretary of State’s office for its collaboration.”
Senate Committee on Judiciary Chairwoman Cynthia A. Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence), one of the bill’s cosponsors, said: “I want to commend Senator Euer for her work on this important legislation. At the same time she began developing the bill, I had started working on similar legislation at the request of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and I was proud to collaborate with Senator Euer on a combined proposal. This bill sends a powerful message that in Rhode Island, we are committed to protecting the survivors of violence and abuse.”
The bill’s other cosponsors were Sen. Alana DiMario (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown), Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence), and Sen. Bridget Valverde (D-Dist. 35, North Kingstown, East Greenwich, Narragansett, South Kingstown).
The bill now heads to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation sponsored by Rep. Gregg Amore (D-Dist. 65, East Providence) has been approved.