State Rep. Graham Filler today led the House Judiciary Committee in approving a bipartisan plan to ensure vulnerable adults are not taken advantage of by those who are trusted to care for them.
Filler, who chairs the committee, is sponsoring the historic plan to improve the state’s guardianship and conservatorship systems, the process used after a court decides an individual is not capable of making their own legal, medical or financial decisions.
“We’ve seen egregious cases in southeast Michigan, including one where a guardian severely limited an elderly couple’s access to their loved ones, spending thousands of the couple’s money to erect fences to keep family out,” Filler said. “I’m working hard to institute some common-sense guardrails to prevent abuse and stop guardians who neglect or take advantage of their wards.”
The legislation, which has support from the attorney general, Michigan Supreme Court Justice Megan Cavanagh and numerous other state leaders, is the culmination of more than two years of work by the Elder Abuse Task Force. The group of about 55 organizations and more than 100 individuals is dedicated to addressing abuse, neglect and exploitation of Michigan’s vulnerable older adults.
Filler said the comprehensive proposal – House Bills 4847-50 – will fix issues identified by the task force and provide a number of important safeguards for the elderly and people with disabilities. It will provide procedural safeguards for the appointment of guardians, require guardians to take special precautions to protect people’s property and increase transparency about the way a ward’s property is being used.
The plan now advances to the full House for further consideration.
An income tax cut is expected to take place this year thanks to fiscally conservative practices, a large increase in surplus revenue coming into the state, and a 2015 law that triggers an automatic reduction of the state income tax when general fund revenues increase at a rate greater than inflation.