COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio lawmaker has reintroduced legislation aimed at curbing the abuse of senior citizens after the bill failed to pass last session amid criticism that it lacked funding.
State Rep. Wes Retherford's Elder Justice Act unanimously cleared the Ohio House last year, but it was stopped in the Ohio Senate after opponents testified that it was an unfunded mandate, The Hamilton-Middletown Journal News reported (http://bit.ly/2mkTCpO).
The bill would require the state Department of Job and Family Services to create and report on a registry to identify patterns of abuse. It would also establish a statewide Elder Abuse Commission to increase awareness of elder abuse and improve judicial response to elder abuse.
Under the bill, employees in financial fields would be required to report suspected elder abuse or elderly victims of financial crimes.
The bill had received support from the Ohio Attorney General's office. State Attorney General Mike DeWine submitted written testimony in both the Ohio House and Ohio Senate, indicating the bill "will complement our efforts and enhance the safety of Ohio's seniors."
His office started the Elder Justice Initiative in 2014 to increase prosecution of crimes against the elderly.
Opponent Antonia Carroll, the director of the Franklin County Office on Aging, testified in June 2015 to the Senate committee that the bill would add more workload without any additional funding.
Retherford, a Hamilton Republican, said changes have been made to the bill to address the issues raised.
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Ohio Lawmaker Reintroduces Bill Aimed at Curbing Elder Abuse