Senate Passes Bipartisan Bill by Senator Evie Hudak to Fight Elder Abuse Today
DENVER – Today, the Senate approved Senate Bill 78, sponsored by Senator Evie Hudak (D-Westminister), to increase protection for at-risk adults. This legislation will combat the mistreatment of elderly populations by establishing the Elder Abuse Task Force. This task force is charged with making recommendations for creating a system for mandatory reporting of at-risk elders in Colorado by 2013. Senate Bill 78 also creates a provision that requires individuals working with at-risk adults to complete a criminal history check.
Senator Hudak offered the following comment on Senate Bill 78, today:
"Colorado is one of only four states left that does not require mandatory reporting of elder abuse. This legislation will allow us to take the initial steps toward developing a statute here to protect this very vulnerable population. I'm pleased that we were able to work in a bipartisan way to pass this bill through the Senate, and I look forward to seeing it signed into law."
The task force will be comprised of representatives from senior citizen groups, advocates for people with disabilities, social workers, the legal community, long-term care providers, social services, law enforcement and health care professionals. The task force will focus on creating a mandatory reporting system for elder abuse. In addition, it will look into funding for the system, criminal penalties for elder abuse, and the provision of services for at-risk adults.
First Judicial District Attorney Scott Storey, who has been working with Senator Hudak on developing a mandatory reporting statute for at-risk adults, offered the following comment on Senate Bill 78:
"Elder abuse and crimes against elders are very underreported. It's very similar to what child abuse was 25 years ago, and that's why we have a mandatory reporting statute for child abuse. We need to have mandatory reporting statute for elder abuse with designated folks that are mandatory reporters."
This bill will now head to the House of Representatives. This bill is being sponsored in the House of Representatives by Representative Sue Schafer (D-Wheat Ridge). It has Republican co-sponsorship in both the House and the Senate.