LANSING – State Rep. John Chirkun (D-Roseville) said today that he is pleased the Michigan Senate has unanimously approved his bill making it easier to charge people who have committed vulnerable adult abuse and he hopes that the Governor will sign the bill into law. Chirkun’s bill, House Bill 5422, is a reintroduction of HB 4550, which was introduced by former state Representative Derek Miller. HB 5422 was approved late last night.

“Vulnerable adult and elder abuse takes many forms and, unfortunately, some caregivers fail to protect and meet the needs of the elderly or vulnerable person they are responsible for,” said Chirkun. “Some abuse does not leave physical signs, and yet it is just as harmful to the victim. By expanding the definition of vulnerable adult abuse, we can better protect these people from all types of abuse and ensure that their abuser is stopped and pays the consequences for the harm they have done.”

Currently, the law requires that physical harm occur during vulnerable adult abuse. Chirkun’s bill would change this so that it will allow a person who abuses a vulnerable adult to be charged if that person knowingly or intentionally commits an act that poses an unreasonable risk, harm or injury to a vulnerable adult, regardless of whether physical harm results.

“I thank my former legislative colleague, Derek Miller, for starting this effort to better protect our seniors and other vulnerable adults, and I thank my colleagues for approving my bill and sending it to the Governor” said Chirkun. “I hope we can end 2016 with better protections for vulnerable adults written into the law books.”