LANSING, Mich., Feb. 28, 2020 — The Michigan House of Representatives passed a bipartisan eight-bill package to strengthen protections for Michigan’s senior population and address the prevalence of elder abuse. Studies indicate approximately 73,000 elder Michiganders are victims of abuse or neglect each year.

House Bill 4260, sponsored by state Rep. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing), expands criminal penalties for fraudulently obtaining or attempting to obtain a vulnerable adult’s money or property to also include elder adults.

“Since introducing this package, I have been working alongside my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to ensure Michigan truly lives up to the distinction of being an Age-Friendly State, said Anthony. “Elder adults in our communities have been without adequate protections from exploitation and abuse at the hands of bad actors for much too long, and I will continue working diligently with our Senate colleagues to get these important bills to the governor’s desk for her signature.”

House Bill 4259, sponsored by state Rep. Vanessa Guerra (D-Saginaw), increases sentencing guidelines for embezzlement from a vulnerable adult to include embezzlement against an elder adult.

“With a rapidly aging population, our state’s current laws protecting elder adults are in desperate need of an update that we can’t afford to delay,” said Guerra. “I’m proud our colleagues in the House recognized the importance of this package as a step toward changing the status quo for the more than two million seniors who call Michigan home.”

House Bills 4256 and 4258, sponsored by state Reps. Kyra Bolden (D-Southfield) and Tenisha Yancey (D-Harper Woods) respectively, would update language in existing laws to reflect the aforementioned changes.

“I am proud to be a part of the Elder and Vulnerable Adult Abuse bill package,” said Bolden. “The package provides greater protection for Michigan’s vulnerable senior population by discouraging assault and expanding the prohibition against embezzlement. We must protect our senior population.”

“Although I’m not a strong proponent of enhancing penalties, we must protect those who cannot protect themselves and this package will help the elderly 80 and over from being victims of elder abuse,” said Yancey.

Additional bills in the package will define an elder adult as an individual age 65 and older while establishing criminal penalties for assaulting or restraining an elder adult. Other bills in this package were sponsored by state Reps. Douglas Wozniak (R-Shelby Township), Diana Farrington (R-Utica), Graham Filler (R-DeWitt) and Kathy Crawford (R-Novi).