Senior protection legislation signed into law

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Sen. Schuitmaker receives Alzheimer’s Association All-Star Advocate award

LANSING, Mich.— Gov. Rick Snyder signed into law a package of legislation today that aims to protect seniors and combat elder abuse. Sen. Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, has been a champion of senior citizens since she began her legislative career in the House of Representatives in 2004 and was excited to be the lead legislator working on this package.

“This is truly a historic day for seniors and families all across Michigan. The signing of these bills is the culmination of years of hard work by countless individuals. This legislation will make an immediate and noticeable positive impact on the lives of seniors,” Schuitmaker said.

“Elder abuse is a serious problem that often goes unreported. The changes these bills make will go a long way to protect seniors from physical, emotional and financial abuse. They give senior organizations and law enforcement better tools to combat and prosecute those who are guilty of these deplorable crimes and strengthen the penalties the perpetrators face.”

The legislation increases coordination between state and local authorities to expedite claims investigation; allows law enforcement to issue alerts for missing seniors; creates a better definition of the various forms of elder abuse in order to increase reporting; places fewer restrictions on reporting abuse; enacts “whistle blower” type protections for employees; and creates stricter penalties for elder abuse.

At the bill signing today were advocates from around the state, including representatives from the Office of Services to the Aging, Area Agencies on Aging, and the Alzheimer’s Association. The family of Estella Mozelle Pierce was also in attendance. The “Mozelle Senior or Vulnerable Adult Medical Alert Act” is named in honor of Mozelle, a senior suffering from Alzheimer’s who died after wandering from her southwest Detroit home.

“Because of the efforts so many people who are truly passionate about and committed to the cause of senior protection, our parents and grandparents can have a peace of mind that Michigan and its people are looking out for them after their lifetimes of looking out for us.”

Before the signing ceremony, Sen. Schuitmaker was presented with the Alzheimer’s Association’s All-Star Advocate award for her work on the measure.

Senate Bills 461, 464 and 466, all sponsored by Schuitmaker, are part of the 17-bill package signed by the governor.