Kentucky’s Democratic governor and Republican secretary of state joined forces on Thursday to swiftly implement a new state law aimed at protecting victims of domestic violence from their abusers.

In a state with one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the nation, the Safe at Home Act strengthens an address confidentiality program for victims. The law went into effect on Thursday, and Governor Andy Beshear and Secretary of State Michael Adams signed emergency regulations to guide its implementation.

The collaboration between the governor and secretary of state occurred during a time of increasing partisan discord ahead of Kentucky’s statewide elections in November. Both Beshear and Adams are seeking second terms, with Adams supporting Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the challenger to Beshear, and the governor backing Adams’ Democratic opponent, former state Rep. Buddy Wheatley.

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Despite their partisan affiliations, Beshear invited Adams to promote the new law during the governor’s weekly news conference. Adams expressed appreciation for the cooperative effort, stating that it exemplifies officials reaching across party lines to “solve pressing problems and protect our most vulnerable.”

“I appreciate that good-faith partnership,” Adams said. “It serves Kentuckians well.”

Andy Beshear and Michael Adams

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, left, shakes hands with Secretary of State Michael Adams on Dec. 5, 2022. Beshear and Adams collaborated on implementing a new state law to protect domestic violence victims from their abusers. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File)

This is not the first occasion where Beshear and Adams have partnered on public policy. In 2020, they worked together on election rules aimed at ensuring voter safety during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The following year, the governor signed legislation supported by Adams that expanded early voting in Kentucky.

On Thursday, Beshear emphasized that the new bipartisan law strengthens the state’s response to an important public safety issue, providing additional protections for victims of “these heinous and cowardly acts.”

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“We cannot and will not solve this crisis alone,” stated the governor. “Let’s work together, everybody looking out for each other.”

The newly enacted law allows individuals fleeing domestic abuse to keep their new home addresses confidential, without the need for a court order. It expands an existing program that already protected victims’ addresses from voter rolls, now extending this protection to other publicly accessible government records. Victims who provide a sworn statement will have their addresses kept private in a broader range of records.

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Participants will be able to use the Secretary of State’s Office address in place of their actual address for public records. The program is free of charge for participants.

Republican Senator Julie Raque Adams served as the lead sponsor of the new law, which received overwhelming support from the GOP-dominated legislature and was signed by the governor earlier this year.

Applications for the program can be submitted at sos.ky.gov/safe-at-home.

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