Last year, Governor signed P.L. 2020, c. 125, which prohibits disclosure of active, formerly active, and retired judicial officers, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers’ home addresses, both primary and secondary. The well-intended law is fraught with implementation challenges. To address those challenges, legislation (A-6171/S-4219) has been introduced and is fast-tracked.
This legislation would create an Office of Information Privacy in the Department of Community Affairs. The Office would establish a secure portal for those covered under Daniel’s Law to submit or revoke a request for the redaction or nondisclosure of their home address. As a reminder, active, formerly active, or retired judicial officers, prosecutors, or law enforcement officers, and any immediate family members residing in the same household as the judicial officers, prosecutors, or law enforcement officers are covered under Daniel’s Law. A-6171/S-4219 changes the definition of “immediate family member” to include any family member related by blood or by law to the judicial officer, prosecutor, or law enforcement officer and who lives in the same residence. An immediate family member who no longer resides with the judicial officer, prosecutor, or law enforcement officer must notify the Office within 30 days of that occurrence.
In order to have their home addresses redacted under Daniel’s Law, a person would have to submit a request to the Office of Information of Privacy through a secure portable. A public agency would be required to redact or cease to disclose the home address no later than 30 days following the approval from the Office of Information Privacy.
When signing up with the Office to have their home address removed from government records the person must acknowledge that their certain rights, duties, and obligations are affected as a result of the request including receipt of certain notices under the Municipal Law Use Law; signing of petitions related to the nomination or election of candidates or public questions; eligibility or requirement to seek or accept nomination for election to public office or appointment; sale or purchase of a home or other property, recordation of a judgment, lien or other encumbrance on real or other property, and any relief granted; the ability to be notified of any class action suit or settlement; and any other legal, promotional, or official notice that would otherwise be provided to that person but for the redaction or nondisclosure of their home address.
The legislation also includes a list of exceptions to the requirement to redact and the prohibition against disclosure of home addresses. Among them: a document affecting the title to real property recorded and index by a county recording officer, or otherwise held or maintained by the Division of Taxation, the county board of taxation, a county tax administrator, or a county or municipal tax assessor, may instead include masking of such names or other information and be provided unreacted to title insurance company, a title insurance agent, or approved attorney; a mortgage guarantee insurance company; registered title search business; a real estate person; an individual or business that has made or received an offer for the purchase of real estate and real property. In addition, title search businesses will be required to register with the Department of Banking and Insurance as well as Division of Revenue and Enterprises Services, Department of Treasury, or a county clerk as appropriate.
In addition, the following documents are not subject to the requirements of Daniel’s Law:
- Records and documents, including Uniform Commercial Code filings and financing statements, maintained by the Division of Revenue and Enterprise Services in the Department of the Treasury;
- Petitions naming candidates for office pursuant;
- Petitions signed (N.J.S.A.19:13-6);
- Records evidencing any lien, judgment, or other encumbrance upon real or other property;
- Assessment lists subject to inspection when inspected in person (N.J.S.A. 54:4-38);
- The index of all recorded documents maintained by a county recording officer as under N.J.S.46:26A-8 when inspected in person; and
- Property that is presumed abandoned under the “Uniform Unclaimed Property Act.”
When a document containing a home address is required to be redacted but because of the characteristics or properties of the record or document is only available to be viewed in person, every reasonable effort to hide such address should be taken.
Local government, along with State, are prohibited from knowingly posting, reposting, publishing, or republishing the home addresses of active, formerly active, and retired judicial officers, prosecutors, and law enforcement officers approved by the Office of Information Privacy 31 days or more following such approval, unless the agency obtains written permission of the person. However, local governments are not required to redact any information in any document, record, information, or databased shared with any other government. In addition, any information required to be redacted can be unredacted upon a judge’s order.
The bill would take effect immediately and would be retroactive to December 10, 2021.