WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Cornyn (R-TX) announced that their bipartisan legislation to protect seniors from neglect and financial exploitation has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, paving the way for a vote in the full Senate. The Court-Appointed Guardian Accountability and Senior Protection Act would help crack down on elder abuse by strengthening oversight and accountability for guardians and conservators.
“While most court-appointed guardians and conservators are undoubtedly professional, caring, and law-abiding, we must do all that we can to protect seniors from exploitation. Our critical bipartisan bill strengthens oversight and accountability for those who are entrusted with acting in the best interests of seniors,” Sen. Klobuchar said. “Today’s action is a positive step forward in providing stronger protections for our vulnerable seniors.”
“Those who exploit and defraud our senior citizens, especially through a court-appointed position, must be held accountable,” Sen. Cornyn said. “I’m proud to sponsor this bipartisan legislation to defend our seniors from criminals who take advantage of them.”
Klobuchar and Cornyn’s bill passed the Judiciary Committee as part of the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act. The Court-Appointed Guardian Accountability and Senior Protection Act makes courts eligible for an already existing program designed to protect seniors. Under the program, state courts would be able to apply for funding to assess the handling of proceedings relating to guardians and conservators, and then make the necessary improvements to their practices. For example, the courts could conduct background checks on potential guardians and conservators, or implement an electronic filing system in order to better monitor and audit conservatorships and guardianships.
Throughout her time in the Senate, Klobuchar has been fighting to ensure that all Americans have safety, dignity, and good health in their senior years. The bipartisan Senior Fraud Prevention Act, which Klobuchar introduced with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), passed the Senate Commerce Committee last month. The bill would help fight scams designed to strip seniors of their assets by educating seniors about fraud schemes and improving monitoring of and response to fraud complaints. In March of 2015, Klobuchar reintroduced the Americans Giving Care to Elders (AGE) Act to help reduce the financial burden on families by establishing a federal tax credit to assist with the costs of caring for an aging family member. She has also been a leader in curbing the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs, improving and strengthening Medicare, and protecting American consumers by leading major bipartisan legislation, such as the Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act, the Preserve Access to Affordable Generics Act, and the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act.