On Thursday, October 20, 2011, United States Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota introduced S1744, the Guardian Accountability and Senior Protection Act. Senator Bill Nelson of Florida is a co-sponsor of the bill. Click here to view the bill.
The bill will provide funding for State courts to assess and improve the handling of proceedings relating to adult guardianship and conservatorship, to authorize the Attorney General to carry out a pilot program for the conduct of background checks on individuals to be appointed as guardians or conservators, and to promote the widespread adoption of information technology to better monitor, report, and audit conservatorships of protected persons.
In a letter of support for the proposed legislation, the NGA Board of Directors said, “As practicing guardians and affiliated professionals, this board understands how critically important it is to encourage the active participation of the highest state courts in reforming adult guardianship law, and to have the support and resources at the federal level to accomplish that.” Click here to view the letter of support.
On behalf of all the dedicated members of NGA, they went on to say: “Those of us who are concerned about best practice in adult guardianship for the people we serve are very interested in the collaborative efforts this bill outlines between the highest state courts and the state aging networks.”
While acknowledging that “these are difficult fiscal times,” they urged that “the needs of persons under guardianship are great, and their right to ethical and appropriate support should be paramount.”
Introduction of the guardianship bill follows a September 22 hearing on “Protecting Seniors and Persons with Disabilities – An Examination of Court - Appointed Guardians” that was held by the Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts, which is part of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Senator Klobuchar presided at that hearing and the webcast is available online. (View a Hearing of Meeting)
Senator Klobuchar also sent a message by video to those in attendance at NGA’s 2011 National Conference on Guardianship, which was held in her home state.