INDIANAPOLIS — Lawmakers voted Wednesday to advance a bill that would allow more crime victims to become part of the state’s Address Confidentiality Program.

Run by the state Attorney General’s Office, the program obscures the addresses of certain crime victims on government websites and doesn’t permit landlords to list their addresses in a registry.

“We already administer this program, and we have for very many years,” said Parvonay Stover, the director of Government Affairs & Legislative Policy for the attorney general.

About 350 Hoosiers participate in the program, which accepts only victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking who have protective orders.

Senate  Bill 424 (http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2020/bills/senate/424) would expand applicable crimes to include harassment, human trafficking, intimidation and invasion of privacy and would eliminate the protective order requirement and add out-of-state crime victims.

“That seemed like an easy solution to make sure everyone is protected,” Stover said, “no matter where they’re coming from.”

The program at the attorney general’s office assigns victims post office boxes, where employees of the office collect and redistribute the mail, according to Stover.

House representatives in the Courts and Criminal Code Committee expressed concerns about people using the program to elude federal authorities and creditors.

Stover said she’d asked those same questions upon joining the attorney general’s office.

“I asked … Do people try to hide in illegitimate ways using this program?” Stover said. “And frankly, it doesn’t happen.”

The attorney general’s office vets applicants and revokes participants who commit crimes at their confidential address, she said.

Because of concerns over the language of the bill and the power it would give to the attorney general, two representatives voted against it. But the bill still advanced out of committee and will go before the full House for consideration.
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