World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is planned for June 15. Originally launched by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, the purpose of the day is to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of seniors by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic, and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect. WBA encourages you to participate in a way that helps seniors in your community.

Closer to home, WBA continues to work for passage of elder fraud protection on a state level. The official last day of the state's regular legislative session has come and gone, and all the legislation that did not pass both the Senate and the Assembly in the same form is considered to have failed. So technically, that means a large number of high-profile bills officially died, because they have not cleared both houses. Many were waiting for action in the Senate, which cancelled a planned session earlier this spring that was meant to be its final session. 

However, the governor can call a special session or the Legislature can go into an extraordinary session if they want to act on these bills, or any other measures that are currently being negotiated. It should be baseball season, so... It's the bottom of the ninth, a runner is at third, and there are two outs. The industry still has a shot. 

WBA Priority: Give banks a safe harbor to help seniors (AB 481/SB 429)

WBA's priority elder financial abuse bill falls into this camp. Under this bill, if a financial service provider reasonably suspects that financial exploitation of an adult at risk or an individual who is 60 years of age or older (together, vulnerable adult) has occurred or been attempted, the financial service provider may, but is not required to, refuse or delay a financial transaction on an account of the vulnerable adult or on which the vulnerable adult is a beneficiary or on an account of a person suspected of perpetrating financial exploitation. In addition, a financial service provider is immune from criminal, civil, and administrative liability for all of the following: 1) refusing or not refusing, or delaying or not delaying, a financial transaction; 2) refusing to accept or accepting a power of attorney; 3) contacting a person or not contacting a person to convey a suspicion of financial exploitation; and 4) any action based on a reasonable determination related to the preceding items.

Elder Exploitation Bills that could be taken up by the State Senate

  • 2019 Assembly Bill 479: Relating to: expediting criminal proceedings when a victim or witness is an elder person and preserving the testimony of a crime victim or witness who is an elder person.
  • 2019 Assembly Bill 480: Relating to: increased penalties for crimes against elder persons; restraining orders for elder persons; freezing assets of a defendant charged with financial exploitation of an elder person; sexual assault of an elder person; physical abuse of an elder person; and providing a penalty.
  • 2019 Assembly Bill 481: Relating to: financial exploitation of vulnerable adults.
  • 2019 Assembly Bill 482: Relating to: financial exploitation of vulnerable adults with securities accounts, violations of the Wisconsin Uniform Securities Law, granting rule-making authority, and providing a penalty.

The Wisconsin state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Senate President Roger Roth have indicated the Senate has plans to take up legislation. We hope they do so soon and will, of course, keep you informed.