Scott Fitzgerald (copy)

Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, right, with Assembly Leader Robin Vos

A bipartisan bill aimed at protecting victims of stalking, domestic abuse and human trafficking cleared the Wisconsin Assembly's judiciary committee last Thursday and headed for passage by the full Assembly Tuesday.

The bill, introduced by Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse, and Reps. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc and Chris Taylor, D-Madison, passed a Senate committee last month and is available for scheduling in both chambers of the Legislature.

The "Safe at Home" bill would allow victims and parents and children of victims of stalking, domestic abuse or human trafficking to work with the state Department of Justice to keep their residence secret. Victims would submit their actual address to DOJ and would be given an assigned address.

The address could be used not only for mailing, but for paying bills, job applications and other activities that require an address. DOJ would be required to forward any mail received at the assigned address to the person's actual address.

Participation could be renewed every five years.

DOJ would be required to keep the actual address secret unless required by a court order to divulge it or unless the person is suspected of criminal activity.

Any election official dealing with the person's actual address would also be required to keep that information confidential.

Similar programs exist in 34 other states, according to the bill's authors.

Jessie Opoien is the Capital Times' opinion editor. She joined the Cap Times in 2013, covering state government and politics for the bulk of her time as a reporter. She has also covered music, culture and education in Madison and Oshkosh.