The Senior Alliance's Monthly Advocacy Update
June 30, 2021
Volume 2.6
Welcome to The Senior Alliance's advocacy newsletter, COLLOQUY!
This monthly e-mail is a look at issues, legislation and policies impacting aging.
Elder Abuse Package Referred to Judiciary Committee
An eight bill elder abuse package has moved from the State House of Representative's Committee on Children, Families & Seniors to the Judiciary Committee for further consideration. House Bills 4472 through 4479 would make assault or restraint of an elder adult or vulnerable adult a crime, update citations in Michigan Compiled Law, prescribe penalties and amend sentencing guidelines. The package is identical to a package that passed the State House of Representatives in the 2019-2020 legislative session.

House Bill 4473, introduced by State Representative Douglas Wozniak (R-Shelby Twp), would amend the Michigan Penal Code to prohibit the assault of an elder adult or vulnerable adult and prohibit restraint of an elder adult or vulnerable adult by the use of violence, menace, fraud, or deceit. A criminal charge could range from a misdemeanor to a 25-year felony with penalties including imprisonment, a fine, or both. The bill defines an "elder adult" as a person age 80 or older. An Area Agency on Aging that became aware of a violation would be required to promptly report the incident to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS).

House Bills 4474, 4475, 4476 and 4479 would update citations in four different sections of Michigan Compiled Law by adding the amendments to the Michigan Penal Code included in House Bill 4473. These four bills are also tie-barred to House Bill 4473.

House Bill 4478 adds sentencing guidelines provisions in the Code of Criminal Procedure for felony penalties proposed in HB 4473. A tie-bar is also included to House Bill 4473.

House Bill 4472 would prohibit a person from obtaining, using, or attempting to obtain or use a vulnerable or elder adult’s money or property. Also, a person required to report abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an adult under section 11a of the Social Welfare Act who became aware of a violation of section 174a would have to promptly report that violation, as required under that act.

House Bill 4477 amends sentencing guidelines in the Code of Criminal Procedure containing felony penalties for embezzlement from a vulnerable adult to include embezzlement against an elder adult. This bill is tie-barred to House Bill 4472.

The Senior Alliance will continue to work with our partners in the aging network to enact legislation that strengthens protects of elder and vulnerable adults.
No MDHHS Budget Before July 1 FY 2022 Budget "Deadline"
The only section of the state's fiscal year 2022 budget to go to the governor before the July 1st statutory deadline is the School Aid Fund. Departmental budget bills, including the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) budget, have been pushed into the summer for further consideration.

The State House of Representative's version of the MDHHS fiscal year 2022 budget would add an additional $1 million of currently unspecified federal funds to the Aging & Adult Services Agency's (AASA) Community Services line item. The Nutrition Services line item would receive get a $3.5 million increase, again from federal dollars.

Both the State Senate and the State House of Representatives budget proposals add 1,000 new slots for the MI Choice Waiver program - a step forward for community-based long-term services and supports.

The Senior Alliance continues to support the Silver Key Coalition's advocacy position that a $6.375 million increase in state funding to the community services line item and $1 million increase in state funding to the nutrition services line item of AASA's budget are needed to address the existing statewide program waitlist over the long-term. We will also advocate in support of the additional 1,000 slots for the MI Choice Waiver program as the fiscal year 2022 appropriations process continues.

The Senior Alliance will also continue to advocate for a Direct Care Worker wage increase in the fiscal year 2022 state budget to support workers who are providing critical services to older adults and adults living with a disability in the community.
Criminal Background Check Bill Become Law
On June 15, 2021 Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed House Bill 4325 (H-1) into law as Public Act 28 of 2021. The legislation was introduced by State Representative Matt Hall (R-Emmett Twp).

The new Public Act codifies a policy approved by the State Commission on Services to the Aging last year that requires Area Agencies on Aging to conduct criminal background checks for each new employee, employee, subcontractor, subcontractor employee, or volunteer who has in-person client contact, in-person home client contact, access to a client's personal property, or access to confidential client information before that individual began work or volunteer duties. These background checks will have to be conducted every three years. An analysis of the legislation is available here.

The Senior Alliance had been following a background check process and quickly came into compliance when the policy was implemented.
Long Term Care Ombudsman Access Bill Remains Before State House Committee
Senate Bill 213 (S-1) would delete a reference in the Older Michiganians Act to the specific times the Michigan Long-Term Care Ombudsman or the regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman are permitted access to any long-term care facility. The bill also states that if restrictions are placed on the ability to access a long-term care facility for a period longer than seven days, that restriction would not apply to a representative of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. If a restriction or visitation prohibited a representative of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program from entering a long-term care facility resident access must be granted for a video meeting.

This legislation was introduced by State Senator Kim LaSata (R-St. Joseph) and unanimously passed the State Senate on April 27, 2021. SB 213 has moved to the State House of Representatives and awaits action in the Committee on Families, Children & Seniors.
"Inside The Senior Alliance" Podcast
Our new podcast series, "Inside The Senior Alliance," provides to-the-point information about our programs and services. Just search for "The Senior Alliance" to find it on Spotify, Amazon, Apple, Stitcher, Google and other podcast platforms. Most episodes are less than 14 minutes long.

Our newest episode looks at the advocacy activity of the Michigan Senior Advocates Council.

Our first episode answers the question, "What is The Senior Alliance?" Other installments provide overviews of the MI Choice Waiver program, the Medicare Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP), our Supports Coordination function, our Information & Assistance service, Housing Coordination and the Long Term Care Ombudsman.

Click the button below to listen via our website.
Advocacy Questions: Please contact Jason Maciejewski, Chief Advocacy & Planning Officer, with any advocacy or public policy questions via e-mail at advocacy@thesenioralliance.org.
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The Senior Alliance, Area Agency on Aging 1C
5454 Venoy Road, Wayne, MI 48184
800-815-1112