Victims of stalking, domestic abuse or human trafficking would be able to keep their addresses confidential under a bill on its way to Gov. Scott Walker's desk.
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, was passed by both the Senate and Assembly on Tuesday.
Kleefisch and Taylor acknowledged their unlikely bipartisan alliance, speaking with reporters before the floor session.
"When it comes to protecting people who have been victims of violence or abuse, there really is no Republican or Democrat," Kleefisch said.
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.
That 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.
"This really is going to save women's lives and victims' lives," Taylor said just before the bill was passed.
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.