State Representatives Mike Dovilla (R-Berea) and Wes Retherford (R-Hamilton) today announced that the Ohio House of Representatives passed House Bill 49, the Ohio Elder Justice Act, legislation which would strengthen the laws protecting elders from abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.
“The broad bipartisan support this legislation received highlights the necessity of reforming our Adult Protective Services system to help protect some of our most vulnerable citizens from abuse and neglect,” said Representative Dovilla.
While in committee, organizations throughout the state testified on the positive impact the Ohio Elder Justice Act would have on protecting Ohio’s senior citizens from physical and financial abuse.
Representative Retherford also said, “As technology advances, so does the use of technology for evil purposes. Far too often the victims are members of the ‘The Greatest Generation’ and the Baby Boomers, who are reaching 60. These men and women have fought for our country, worked hard for a living and provided us with the way of life we all hold so dear. Updating our elder abuse laws to meet today’s demands is just a small step we can take to ensure the protection of our growing senior population from losing their life’s savings, property and dignity.”
Some of the key provisions in the Ohio Elder Justice Act include:
• The requirement of the Department of Job and Family Services to report on the creation of a registry to help identify patterns of abuse;
• The obligation for employees in several financial fields to report suspected elder abuse to help prevent the elderly from falling victim to financial crimes; and
• The establishment of a statewide Elder Abuse Commission, which will increase awareness and research of elder abuse, improve policy, funding and programming related to elder abuse, and improve the judicial response to elder abuse victims.
House Bill 49 passed the Ohio House with a vote of 83-6. It will now move to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.