LANSING — Sen. Judy Emmons introduced legislation on Wednesday as part of a 16-bill package of Senate reforms to help protect Michigan’s seniors, encourage increased reporting of elder abuse and strengthen penalties for those convicted of abusing a senior.
“Elder abuse tragically impacts an estimated 80,000 Michigan residents and their families annually,” said Emmons, R-Sheridan. “In my role as a lawmaker in both the House and Senate, I have heard the heartbreaking stories of abuse, neglect and exploitation of our seniors. I am proud to be one of the sponsors of this important legislation, because we must do more to protect our most vulnerable adults.
“One step is to make the punishment fit the severity of the crime. My bill would crack down on financial exploitation of elder Michigan adults by increasing the penalties for fraudulently obtaining a senior’s signature.”
Emmons’ measure, Senate Bill 459, would create stricter penalties for more severe financial abuse. The bills also would further protect those who are at risk of being exploited without placing an unmanageable burden on their guardians.
Other measures in the legislative package would:
- Improve coordination between state and local authorities;
- Create a senior medical alert for missing seniors, similar to an Amber Alert; and
- Allow victims of alleged vulnerable adult abuse to give testimony via closed circuit television or a pre-recorded video.
Senate Bills 454-468 have been referred to the Senate Families, Seniors and Human Services Committee, which Emmons chairs. SB 92 is expected to be sent to the committee shortly.