By Editorial Board
The position of Minnesota Secretary of State is commonly equated, first and foremost, with the state’s election process. Steve Simon, who was elected to the post this past November, wants folks to know there’s far more to his office.
Simon, who visited the Daily Globe on Monday, notes that his office is “the gateway to business and commerce in Minnesota” and offers an array of related services to prospective and existing businesses alike. That’s something probably known to many business owners, but perhaps not to the average state resident. That’s not nearly all, either — among the other components of Simon’s job is administering the state’s Safe at Home program, which protects the identities and addresses of domestic violence victims.
Safe at Home was the basis of Simon’s visit to Worthington, and he also spent time Monday at the local office of Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services to discuss and raise awareness about the program. Simon called the strengthening of the program one of his top priorities for the 2015 Legislative session, and added that Gov. Mark Dayton signed a bill last month that does just that.
At the Daily Globe, Simon explained both the Safe at Home program and how the bill — which ended up in the Public Safety Omnibus Bill and was co-authored by a Republican representative and DFL senator — further “ensures protections for victims of domestic violence and other Minnesotans who fear for their safety.”
Under the new legislation, there is clear framework that courts must use when determining whether or not to order a Safe at Home participant to disclose their physical address. A court must now consider whether the disclosure is needed (Simon said it must be deemed “absolutely vital:); if there is another practicable way to obtain the information needed; and whether disclosure of the address places the safety of the program participant at risk.
We’re pleased to know that Simon is looking out for those truly need to be “Safe at Home.”