Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/23/1994 01:15 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  The House Judiciary Standing Committee was called to order                   
  at 1:13 p.m. on March 23, 1994.  A quorum was present.                       
  Chairman Brian Porter announced that the committee would                     
  begin with HB 376.                                                           
  TAPE 94-49, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 037                                                                   
  HB 376 - ASSIST & PROTECT VULNERABLE ADULTS                                  
  CHAIRMAN PORTER said, "I would ask that the committee take                   
  the CS on HB 376 in hand.  This represents, basically, the                   
  committee substitute that incorporated the items we had                      
  questions on last meeting, and one other item which I will                   
  explain.  Section one is new between last meeting and the                    
  development of this CS.  This was another section that was                   
  found in the statutes that deals with this issue where we                    
  wanted to change the `elder abuse' to `vulnerable adult,'                    
  which, of course, this bill incorporates.  On page six,                      
  which I think is what we do have, on line 18, we have added                  
  verbiage so that the entire sentence says, beginning on the                  
  last of 17, `The Department or its designee shall conduct a                  
  face to face interview with the vulnerable adult, who is the                 
  subject of the report.'  We wanted to make sure, just for                    
  clarification, that that's the person of whom we were                        
  speaking.  I'll not discuss page seven, because you don't                    
  have it yet [Ed. Note: it was distributed shortly                            
  thereafter.].  On page nine, at the top, line one, we have                   
  added `life threatening' and the word `temporary,' and in                    
  line two, the word `temporarily.'  This is the section that                  
  deals with the ability of the department to determine that                   
  an individual is within an emergency situation and takes                     
  steps without permission, without consent, to protect that                   
  vulnerable adult.  Obviously, this is one of the sections of                 
  the bill that is of the consideration of this committee and                  
  we thought that it would be appropriate to make sure that                    
  was done in only very serious temporary situations where a                   
  department could, in effect, control someone's life without                  
  otherwise due process or permission."                                        
  REP. JOE GREEN:  "Did you want to discuss these now or                       
  CHAIRMAN PORTER:  "We can discuss them now if you like."                     
  Number 110                                                                   
  REP. GREEN:  "Just a point of clarification:  By adding                      
  `life threatening,' does that modify the temporary nature to                 
  the point that the department will probably minimize that                    
  time in order to stay in context with this life-threatening                  
  Number 115                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER:  "That would be my impression, yes. On line                 
  11 of page seven, we have added `procedural status' as                       
  opposed to just `status'.  The entire thing, then...`Upon                    
  request of person who made a report to the department under                  
  this statute number regarding a vulnerable adult shall be                    
  notified, shall be notified of the procedural status of the                  
  investigation conducted under (a) of this section regarding                  
  that vulnerable adult.'  We wanted to make sure that this                    
  was not interpreted to mean that otherwise confidential                      
  information would be relayed to the person who made the                      
  report, but recognizing it's appropriate for that person to                  
  know the status of that report."                                             
  Number 147                                                                   
  REP. CLIFF DAVIDSON:  "So, in effect, the new word                           
  `procedural' just means that the person who made the report                  
  shall be notified of where in the procedure the status of                    
  that vulnerable adult is.  Is that correct?"  Chairman                       
  Porter replied in the affirmative.                                           
  REP. DAVIDSON asked further:  "The department - are they in                  
  full support of all these amendments?"                                       
  CHAIRMAN PORTER:  "It's my understanding that they are.                      
  Connie is nodding in the affirmative."                                       
  Number 170                                                                   
  REP. PETE KOTT:  "Just for clarification here.  If there is                  
  some type of action that would require the appointment of                    
  counsel on any matter that would be brought before the                       
  court, who would that be?  I don't see a real provision                      
  there.  If I understand the system correctly, the Office of                  
  Public Advocacy would be the one that would be representing                  
  as counsel in these matters.  And if that's the case, I                      
  don't see a fiscal note."                                                    
  Number 185                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER:  "The appointment of counsel for a                          
  vulnerable adult initially would be determined by the                        
  financial status of that individual.  If that person has, as                 
  we've listed in the bill, and I can't remember exactly which                 
  section, but we've listed that the department can seek                       
  assistance and guidance for these kinds of determinations,                   
  from relatives and spouses or even close associates.  Those                  
  people would be in a position to know whether or not there                   
  are funds with which to hire their own attorney, which                       
  obviously is the law, or have to appoint a guardian                          
  (indiscernible.)  If a guardian (indiscernible) is                           
  appointed, there would be a fiscal impact, but I don't think                 
  that this bill would create an additional impact; it's just                  
  defining the process for doing that which has already been                   
  Number 214                                                                   
  REP. KOTT:  "My only question was, at least if I understand                  
  the system correctly, that if you do have appointed counsel                  
  representing these types of cases - either commitment or                     
  guardian cases - it would come from the Office of Public                     
  Advocacy.  So I was just suggesting that perhaps there                       
  should be some kind of fiscal impact.  I think the office                    
  also falls within the Department of Administration, if I'm                   
  correctly stating that, and that might bring about some form                 
  of conflict."                                                                
  HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, to comment.                                       
  Number 241                                                                   
  MS. LOPER said and reiterated several times that the issue                   
  raised by Rep. Kott did not relate to the bill.  She said                    
  only one particular section discussed petitioning the court                  
  for certain protective services by the agency.                               
  Number 250                                                                   
  REP. KOTT:  "If I might add, maybe, for counsel to perhaps                   
  address...I'm looking at the original bill, page seven,                      
  lines 26 and 27; it deals with surrogate decision makers.                    
  It talks about...it has no attorney or guardian, in fact, to                 
  serve as the vulnerable adult's surrogate, we're covered                     
  there as well, then?  That's my question."                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER:  "What's the question again?"                               
  REP. KOTT:  "Well, the comments that were made earlier - I'm                 
  still looking at whether or not we're going to have to                       
  appoint counsel under this particular provision in Section                   
  three on page seven; Where there is no guardian or attorney                  
  (indiscernible) to serve as the vulnerable adult's decision-                 
  maker, will that person then have to acquire perhaps                         
  appointed counsel from the Office of Public Advocacy?"                       
  Number 291                                                                   
  MS. LOPER:  "This section on surrogate decision makers for                   
  vulnerable adults is only honing in on the issue of whether                  
  they are going to receive protective services or not.  It                    
  goes on to say that the vulnerable adult spouse is going to                  
  be the first on the priority that's going to be looked at,                   
  and on down the line to sisters and brothers and close                       
  relatives and friends.  It only relates to the issue of                      
  whether there's going to be protective services or not,                      
  whether they can go ahead and do that or not.  Under this                    
  bill, they don't have to petition the court at all."                         
  Number 310                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER:  "From that standpoint, I think it would be                 
  fair to say that there is a cost reduction involved in this                  
  process, as opposed to a cost increase, because we didn't                    
  have the ability to make these kinds of decisions previously                 
  at the administrative level.  Any other questions?  What is                  
  the wish of the committee?  Rep. James?"                                     
  Number 315                                                                   
  REP. JEANNETTE JAMES:  "I move to adopt the CS that is                       
  before us."                                                                  
  CHAIRMAN PORTER:  "The CS being for HB 376 dated 3/17/94-E.                  
  Is there objection?  I see no objection."                                    
  REP. JAMES:  "I move that we send this bill out of committee                 
  with attached fiscal notes and individual recommendations                    
  and ask for unanimous consent."                                              
  Number 324                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER:  "Motion to move and ask for unanimous                      
  consent. Is there discussion?  Objection?  I see none.                       
  Thank you, the bill is moved."                                               

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