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   Your Task Force Member Benefit News Brief                        June 2014
Our Mission: The Florida Joint Public Policy Task Force for the Elderly and Disabled works daily on behalf of Florida’s most vulnerable citizens and their families, as well as for the practice of Elder Law, through advocacy, action, and education. We are a combined effort of the Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys and the Florida Bar’s Elder Law Section.
IN THIS ISSUE
Governor Signs Groundbreaking Law Paving the Way for Greater Elder Abuse Prosecution
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Governor Signs Groundbreaking Law Paving the Way for Greater Elder Abuse Prosecution
Education Advocacy Outreach

Florida’s senior citizens now have a new and effective tool to fight elder exploitation, thanks to a law passed by the state legislature and just signed by the governor.

The nationally groundbreaking legislation makes it easier for law enforcement to prosecute those who prey on our most vulnerable citizens by providing additional protections and harsher penalties.

Members of the Florida Bar’s Elder Law Section, Adult Protective Services, State Law Enforcement and Prosecutors teamed with Representative Kathleen Passidomo to carefully construct this legislation.  Also, we thank you for responding to our requests for Task Force contributors to urge lawmakers to support the bill.  The new law includes:

  • a “presumption of exploitation” when a predator takes advantage of an elderly or disabled victim in certain circumstances
  • deleting a requirement that the property of an elderly person or disabled adult be obtained by deception or intimidation in order to constitute exploitation
  • decreasing the property threshold values for exploitation
  • creating criminal penalties for those who exploit through joint accounts that were intended for convenience
  • creating a constitutionally sound hearsay exception for victims, to allow an out of court statement by an elderly person or disabled adult to be admissible in certain circumstances

“Elder financial exploitation is a serious issue facing Florida and the nation,” says Gainesville Elder Law Attorney Shannon Miller, the President of the Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys and member of the Elder law section who was also a member of the Workgroup who created the legislation. “Current laws have simply been inadequate for prosecuting financial crimes against our elders and vulnerable adults.”

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Senior citizens can be as happy as anyone!

In an effort to keep you informed about how your Task Force is working for you, it is our pleasure to send to Task Force Contributors these updates on regulation and legislation, plus information about our latest accomplishments, on a regular basis. Our legislative activities are led by our paid lobbyist, which is just another reason to renew your AFELA membership and to support the Task Force.
Please click here to contribute.  We thank you for your investment in our advocacy and education efforts and will be happy to answer any of your questions.
Sincerely,
Ellen Morris and Sam Boone, Task Force Co-Chairs
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