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SUBCHAPTER B

SUBCHAPTER B. ADDRESS CONFIDENTIALITY PROGRAM FOR CERTAIN CRIME VICTIMS

Art. 58.051. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:

(1) “Applicant” means a person who applies to participate in the program.

(2) “Family violence” has the meaning assigned by Section 71.004, Family Code.

(3) “Family violence shelter center” has the meaning assigned by Section 51.002, Human Resources Code.

(4) “Household” has the meaning assigned by Section 71.005, Family Code.

(5) “Mail” means first class mail and any mail sent by a government agency. The term does not include a package, regardless of size or type of mailing.

(6) “Participant” means an applicant who is certified for participation in the program.

(7) “Program” means the address confidentiality program created under this subchapter.

(8) “Sexual abuse” means any conduct that constitutes an offense under Section 21.02, 21.11, or 25.02, Penal Code.

(9) “Sexual assault” means any conduct that constitutes an offense under Section 22.011 or 22.021, Penal Code.

(10) “Stalking” means any conduct that constitutes an offense under Section 42.072, Penal Code.

(11) “Trafficking of persons” means any conduct that:

(A) constitutes an offense under Section 20A.02, 20A.03, 43.03, 43.031, 43.04, 43.041, 43.05, 43.25, 43.251, or 43.26, Penal Code; and

(B) results in a person:

(i) engaging in forced labor or services; or

(ii) otherwise becoming a victim of the offense.

Added by Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 469 (H.B. 4173), Sec. 1.07, eff. January 1, 2021.

Amended by:

Acts 2021, 87th Leg., R.S., Ch. 915 (H.B. 3607), Sec. 4.017(a), eff. September 1, 2021.

Art. 58.052. ADDRESS CONFIDENTIALITY PROGRAM. (a) The attorney general shall establish an address confidentiality program, as provided by this subchapter, to assist a victim of family violence, sexual assault or abuse, stalking, or trafficking of persons in maintaining a confidential address.

(b) The attorney general shall:

(1) designate a substitute post office box address that a participant may use in place of the participant’s true residential, business, or school address;

(2) act as agent to receive service of process and mail on behalf of the participant; and

(3) forward to the participant mail received by the office of the attorney general on behalf of the participant.

(c) A summons, writ, notice, demand, or process may be served on the attorney general on behalf of the participant by delivery of two copies of the document to the office of the attorney general. The attorney general shall retain a copy of the summons, writ, notice, demand, or process and forward the original to the participant not later than the third day after the date of service on the attorney general.

(d) The attorney general shall make and retain a copy of the envelope in which certified mail is received on behalf of the participant.

(e) The attorney general shall adopt rules to administer the program.

Added by Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 469 (H.B. 4173), Sec. 1.07, eff. January 1, 2021.

Art. 58.053. AGENCY ACCEPTANCE OF SUBSTITUTE ADDRESS REQUIRED; EXEMPTIONS. (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a state or local agency must accept the substitute post office box address designated by the attorney general if the substitute address is presented to the agency by a participant in place of the participant’s true residential, business, or school address.

(b) The attorney general by rule may permit an agency to require a participant to provide the participant’s true residential, business, or school address, if necessary for the agency to perform a duty or function that is imposed by law or administrative requirement.

Added by Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 469 (H.B. 4173), Sec. 1.07, eff. January 1, 2021.

Art. 58.054. ELIGIBILITY. To be eligible to participate in the program:

(1) an applicant must:

(A) meet with a victim’s assistance counselor from a state or local agency or other for-profit or nonprofit entity that is identified by the attorney general as an entity that provides shelter or civil legal services or counseling to victims of family violence, sexual assault or abuse, stalking, or trafficking of persons;

(B) be protected under, or be filing an application on behalf of a victim who is the applicant’s child or another person in the applicant’s household and who is protected under:

(i) a temporary injunction issued under Subchapter F, Chapter 6, Family Code;

(ii) a temporary ex parte order issued under Chapter 83, Family Code;

(iii) an order issued under Subchapter A or B, Chapter 7B, of this code or Chapter 85, Family Code; or

(iv) a magistrate’s order for emergency protection issued under Article 17.292; or

(C) possess documentation of family violence, as identified by the rules adopted under Article 58.056, or of sexual assault or abuse or stalking, as described by Section 92.0161, Property Code; and

(2) an applicant must:

(A) file an application for participation with the attorney general or a state or local agency or other entity identified by the attorney general under Subdivision (1);

(B) file an affirmation that the applicant has discussed safety planning with a victim’s assistance counselor described by Subdivision (1)(A);

(C) designate the attorney general as agent to receive service of process and mail on behalf of the applicant; and

(D) live at a residential address, or relocate to a residential address, that is unknown to the person who committed or is alleged to have committed the family violence, sexual assault or abuse, stalking, or trafficking of persons.

Added by Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 469 (H.B. 4173), Sec. 1.07, eff. January 1, 2021.

Art. 58.055. APPLICATION. (a) An application under Article 58.054(2)(A) must contain:

(1) a signed, sworn statement by the applicant stating that the applicant fears for the safety of the applicant, the applicant’s child, or another person in the applicant’s household because of a threat of immediate or future harm caused by the person who committed or is alleged to have committed the family violence, sexual assault or abuse, stalking, or trafficking of persons;

(2) the applicant’s true residential address and, if applicable, the applicant’s business and school addresses; and

(3) a statement by the applicant of whether there is an existing court order or a pending court case for child support or child custody or visitation that involves the applicant, the applicant’s child, or another person in the applicant’s household and, if so, the name and address of:

(A) the legal counsel of record; and

(B) each parent involved in the court order or pending case.

(b) An application under Article 58.054(2)(A) must be completed by the applicant in person at the state or local agency or other entity with which the application is filed.

(c) A state or local agency or other entity with which an application is filed under Article 58.054(2)(A) shall forward the application to the office of the attorney general.

(d) Any assistance or counseling provided by the attorney general or an employee or agent of the attorney general to an applicant does not constitute legal advice.

(e) The attorney general shall make program information and application materials available online.

Added by Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 469 (H.B. 4173), Sec. 1.07, eff. January 1, 2021.

Art. 58.056. APPLICATION AND ELIGIBILITY RULES AND PROCEDURES. (a) The attorney general may establish procedures for requiring an applicant, in appropriate circumstances, to submit with the application under Article 58.054(2)(A) independent documentary evidence of family violence, sexual assault or abuse, stalking, or trafficking of persons in the form of:

(1) an active or recently issued order described by Article 58.054(1)(B);

(2) an incident report or other record maintained by a law enforcement agency or official;

(3) a statement of a physician or other health care provider regarding the medical condition of the applicant, applicant’s child, or other person in the applicant’s household as a result of the family violence, sexual assault or abuse, stalking, or trafficking of persons;

(4) a statement of a mental health professional, a member of the clergy, an attorney or other legal advocate, a trained staff member of a family violence center, or another professional who has assisted the applicant, applicant’s child, or other person in the applicant’s household in addressing the effects of the family violence, sexual assault or abuse, stalking, or trafficking of persons; or

(5) any other independent documentary evidence necessary to show the applicant’s eligibility to participate in the program.

(b) The attorney general by rule may establish additional eligibility requirements for participation in the program that are consistent with the purpose of the program as stated in Article 58.052(a).

Added by Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 469 (H.B. 4173), Sec. 1.07, eff. January 1, 2021.

Art. 58.057. FALSE STATEMENT ON APPLICATION. (a) An applicant who knowingly or intentionally makes a false statement in an application under Article 58.054(2)(A) is subject to prosecution under Chapter 37, Penal Code.

(b) An applicant is ineligible for, and a participant may be excluded from, participation in the program if the applicant or participant knowingly makes a false statement on an application filed under Article 58.054(2)(A).

Added by Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 469 (H.B. 4173), Sec. 1.07, eff. January 1, 2021.

Art. 58.058. EXCLUSION FROM PARTICIPATION IN PROGRAM; WITHDRAWAL. (a) A participant may be excluded from participation in the program if:

(1) mail forwarded to the participant by the attorney general is returned undeliverable on at least four occasions;

(2) the participant changes the participant’s true residential address as provided in the application filed under Article 58.054(2)(A) and does not notify the attorney general of the change at least 10 days before the date of the change; or

(3) the participant changes the participant’s name.

(b) A participant may withdraw from the program by notifying the attorney general in writing of the withdrawal.

Added by Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 469 (H.B. 4173), Sec. 1.07, eff. January 1, 2021.

Art. 58.059. CERTIFICATION OF PARTICIPATION IN PROGRAM. (a) The attorney general shall certify for participation in the program an applicant who satisfies the eligibility requirements under Articles 58.054 and 58.056(b).

(b) A certification under this article expires on the third anniversary of the date of certification.

(c) To renew a certification under this article, a participant must satisfy the eligibility requirements under Articles 58.054 and 58.056(b) as if the participant were originally applying for participation in the program.

Added by Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 469 (H.B. 4173), Sec. 1.07, eff. January 1, 2021.

Art. 58.060. CONFIDENTIALITY OF PARTICIPANT INFORMATION; DESTRUCTION OF INFORMATION. (a) Information relating to a participant:

(1) is confidential, except as provided by Article 58.061; and

(2) may not be disclosed under Chapter 552, Government Code.

(b) Except as provided by Article 58.052(d), the attorney general may not make a copy of any mail received by the office of the attorney general on behalf of the participant.

(c) The attorney general shall destroy all information relating to a participant on the third anniversary of the date the participant’s participation in the program ends.

Added by Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 469 (H.B. 4173), Sec. 1.07, eff. January 1, 2021.

Art. 58.061. EXCEPTIONS. (a) The attorney general shall disclose a participant’s true residential, business, or school address if:

(1) requested by:

(A) a law enforcement agency for the purpose of conducting an investigation;

(B) the Department of Family and Protective Services for the purpose of conducting a child protective services investigation under Chapter 261, Family Code; or

(C) the Department of State Health Services or a local health authority for the purpose of making a notification described by Article 21.31 of this code, Section 54.033, Family Code, or Section 81.051, Health and Safety Code; or

(2) required by court order.

(b) The attorney general may disclose a participant’s true residential, business, or school address if:

(1) the participant consents to the disclosure; and

(2) the disclosure is necessary to administer the program.

(c) A person to whom a participant’s true residential, business, or school address is disclosed under this article shall maintain the requested information in a manner that protects the confidentiality of the participant’s true residential, business, or school address.

Added by Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 469 (H.B. 4173), Sec. 1.07, eff. January 1, 2021.

Art. 58.062. LIABILITY. (a) The attorney general or an agent or employee of the attorney general is immune from liability for any act or omission by the agent or employee in administering the program if the agent or employee was acting in good faith and in the course and scope of assigned responsibilities and duties.

(b) An agent or employee of the attorney general who does not act in good faith and in the course and scope of assigned responsibilities and duties in disclosing a participant’s true residential, business, or school address is subject to prosecution under Chapter 39, Penal Code.

Added by Acts 2019, 86th Leg., R.S., Ch. 469 (H.B. 4173), Sec. 1.07, eff. January 1, 2021.

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