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Senate OKs Bills Aimed At Protecting Seniors

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LANSING (AP) – Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday said he supports legislation aimed at protecting senior citizens and other vulnerable adults from nursing home abuse and financial exploitation.

The broad, bipartisan and multi-bill package overwhelmingly approved this week in the Senate advances to the House.

The legislation would increase penalties in some cases for embezzlement or other financial exploitation targeting seniors.

Other bills would require more reporting from nursing home employees when they suspect mistreatment of nursing home residents. State officials and law enforcement agencies could be notified of more types of incidents.

Police departments would be required to notify news media and other law enforcement agencies when they receive reports of missing seniors or vulnerable adults. The process would be similar to the Amber Alert system now used to quickly publicize the disappearance of children.

“Elder abuse is the fastest-growing crime in Michigan and current laws, frankly, do not do enough to protect seniors,” Snyder said in a statement.

Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, a Republican from Lawton and a key sponsor of the legislation, said the bills are designed to “put a spotlight” on crimes targeting seniors and bring offenders to justice.

© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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