Nevada's #1 News Source for Senior Services and Community Resources
by Connie McMullen
State Legislative Bills of Significance to Seniors
The 79th Legislative Session produced significant bills that will add greatly to the health and safety of aging adults and vulnerable people. Two very important bills that will work nicely into existing elder protection and guardianship statutes are AB288 and SB360. In many ways these two measures mirror one another but on their own add to existing laws.
AB288 expands existing elder abuse laws and penalties as well as immunity, addresses various crimes not in abuse and exploitation statute, and address the growing concern of arbitration in longterm care contracts. AB288, sponsored by Assemblywoman Amber Joiner (D24), revises provisions relating to the protection of older and vulnerable persons by increasing the maximum term of imprisonment for a person who commits certain acts that result in substantial bodily or mental harm or the death of the person. The bill also revises penalties for committing certain acts against an older or vulnerable person or conspiring to commit certain acts. Finally AB288 establishes provision of certain clauses relating to dispute resolution included in contracts used by facilities for longterm care, and providing penalties. AB288 is well thought out, and will serve Nevadans well in protecting loved ones.
Similarly SB360 Revises provisions relating to the protection of older, vulnerable persons and persons in need of a guardian. Sponsored by Senator Nicole Cannizzaro (D6), the bill imposes a penalty upon a person who commits certain crimes or criminal violations of law against an older or vulnerable person, revises provisions of immunity from civil or criminal liability for certain acts, increases the maximum term of imprisonment for a person who commits certain acts against an older or a vulnerable person that result in substantial bodily or mental harm or the death of that person, and revises penalties for abuse, neglect, exploitation, isolation or abandonment of an older or vulnerable person.
Additionally, SB360 establishes a Wards’ Bill of Rights requiring each court having jurisdiction of the persons and estates of minors, incompetent persons or persons of limited capacity, to perform certain actions to ensure the Wards’ Bill of Rights is available to the public, establishing provisions relating to arbitration clauses included in contracts used by facilities for longterm care, and providing penalties. Of particular importance is section 6 of the bill, that requires that the proposed ward have a right to have an attorney before a guardianship is imposed, something that has not always been made available.
Both these bills will go a long way in assuring that people who perpetrate crimes on aging adults and vulnerable people are convicted and punished for the crimes committed. As of the printing of this edition, SB360 was being enrolled for review by the Governor, while AB288 was being considered in the Assembly.
SB278, sponsored by Senator Becky Harris (R9), did not meet the deadline to be heard in the second house, but carried significant language regarding restitution and mediation of restitution, and authorizing coroners and their deputies to access criminal history records of persons suspected of elder crimes.
Other measures of significance are:
AB31: Revises provisions relating to the Specialist for the Rights of Elderly Persons and the Community Advocate for Elder Rights. (BDR 38130) AB31 expands the position to include people under age 60. The bill also changes the name of the Specialist for the Rights of Elderly Persons to the Attorney for the Rights of Older Persons and Persons with a Physical Disability, an Intellectual Disability or a Related Condition. AB31 was approved by the Governor effective May 19, 2017.
AB430: Creates the interim Nevada Task Force on Retirement Security. (BDR S1035) The Task Force will conduct a comprehensive examination during the 20172018 legislative interim of the retirement security of residents of Nevada, including, without limitation, the causes, extent and consequences of any retirement insecurity, and report on findings.
SB131: Requires certain pharmacies to, upon request, provide a prescription reader or advice on obtaining a prescription reader. (BDR 54665) SB131 was approved by the Governor, effective January 1, 2018.
SB136: Creates the State of Nevada Advisory Council on Palliative Care and Quality of Life; authorizing the Council to apply for and accept certain money; establishing the Palliative Care and Quality of Life Consumer and Professional Information and Education Program within the Department of Health and Human Services. Additionally, this bill requires the Department to encourage hospitals, assisted living facilities and facilities for skilled nursing with 100 beds or more to educate their physicians, nurses and clinical staff members regarding palliative care and provide information to patients or residents. Effective on July 1, 2017.
SB318: AN ACT relating to wages; authorizing an agency to provide personal care services in the home and its employee to enter into a written agreement to exclude from the employee's wages payment for certain specified periods. Existing law provides that an employee who is employed in a certain residential facility and who works for 24 hours or more may agree not to be paid for a sleeping period not to exceed 8 hours if adequate sleeping facilities are provided by the employer. (NRS 608.0195) This bill provides that an employee of an agency may similarly agree not to be paid for a sleeping period.
SB388: Requires a person to obtain a license from the State Board of Health to operate an employment agency that contracts with persons to provide certain nonmedical services to certain persons in the home; requiring the Board to adopt regulations establishing standards for the licensing of such employment agencies; prohibiting an employment agency from contracting with a person to provide certain nonmedical services to certain persons in the home if that person has not submitted a set of fingerprints to the Central Repository for Nevada Records of Criminal History.