Bipartisan Senior Protection Package Considered in House Committee

Legislation will establish penalties for abusers of vulnerable and elder adults
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
State Rep. Patrick Green (D-Warren) testifies on his House Bill 5032, which would prohibit fraudulently obtaining or attempting to obtain an elder adult’s money or property, before the House Law and Justice Committee on March 13, 2018, at the state Capitol. Next to Rep. Green is state Rep. Vanessa Guerra (D-Saginaw).

LANSING — State Rep. Patrick Green (D-Warren) testified on his House Bill 5032 in the House Committee on Law and Justice this morning. The bill is part of a bipartisan 6-bill package designed to better protect Michigan senior citizens from physical, financial and mental harm, and ensure seniors are protected while living in an assisted living facility or nursing home. Other bills in the package are sponsored by state Reps. Vanessa Guerra (D-Saginaw), Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn), Frank Liberati (D-Allen Park), Diana Farrington (R-Utica) and Klint Kesto (R-Commerce Township).

“It’s time to strengthen our laws to ensure Michigan seniors don’t fall victim to crimes robbing them of their freedom to live comfortably and be well-cared for wherever they live,” said Green. “Our bipartisan bill package works to prevent these crimes by holding bad actors accountable and providing training requirements for senior care facilities.”

House Democrats have been consistent in their efforts to support Michigan seniors. Most recently, the Caucus introduced legislation to address the high cost of prescription drugs, which can hit seniors’ wallets particularly hard. Rep. Green’s bill would prohibit fraudulently obtaining or attempting to obtain an elder adult's money or property. The bill creates a rebuttable presumption of exploitation of an elder adult in certain financial transactions involving a non-relative the elder adult has known for fewer than two years.

Other bills in the package would:

  • Amend the sentencing guidelines to update the names of the offenses. (HB 5029 - Guerra)
  • Prohibit assaulting an elder or vulnerable adult or restraining an elder or vulnerable adult by the use of violence, menace, fraud or deceit. (HB 5028 - Farrington)
  • Add misdemeanors and felonies proposed by HB 5028. (HB 5027 - Kesto)
  • Require that when nursing home administrators are licensed and relicensed, they are properly trained to be able to identify elder abuse and exploitation and have the resources available to address the issue(HB 5030 - Liberati)
  • Require state licensure for assisted living facilities so that they are subject to oversight and meet state standards. (HB 5031- Hammoud)

“Michigan’s senior population is growing, and many of us know of an elder who has either fallen victim to a scam, or received a call or email from a scammer and luckily recognized it as fraudulent,” said Green. “Protecting seniors and the most vulnerable among us is an important part of building a state that provides opportunity for everyone, no matter their age. This legislation is a critical element of protection, giving law enforcement the tools they need to charge and prosecute crimes against our seniors. I appreciate the committee giving us a hearing on these bills, and my colleagues and I will continue working to see these important protections signed into law for our senior citizens.”