Guardian accountability bill moves out of U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee


Keep reality at bay and “mission accomplished” can be the order of the day.

From Washington:

WILLMAR — Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s legislation to protect seniors from neglect or abuse by court-appointed guardians passed the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday.

The Guardian Accountability and Senior Protection Act would help states improve their oversight of guardians and conservators of seniors and vulnerable adults. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, cosponsored the bill with Klobuchar, a Democrat.

The legislation was approved with a 15-3 vote and will be referred to the full Senate for approval.

The goal is to protect people from being neglected or financially exploited by their guardians.

The issue will grow in importance as the population of seniors doubles in the coming decades, Klobuchar said during the committee hearing on Thursday.

“I know every state has incidences of people getting ripped off millions of dollars when their loved one is supposed to be under the care of a guardian,” she said. “Most guardians do amazing work, good work, but again you have a situation where you have a very few that are causing a lot of harm.”

The bill does not provide new funding but allows states to use funding from an existing program to improve their monitoring of guardians, Klobuchar said. It also authorizes an electronic filing system to monitor and audit conservatorships and guardianships.

Read more.


Klobuchar bill that protects seniors passes key test
Linda Vanderwerf
July 14, 2012
West Central Tribune

Estate of Denial’s view has always concurred with the perspective that government closest to the people governs best.  It’s also the key to accountable government.  The downside in today’s society is that such a system also requires an active, informed and engaged citizenry.  Taking action means effort, acquiring information requires motivation while effective engagement means having to take interest in issues not limited to one’s own self-interests.

EoD enjoys associations with many people who do exactly this, but that’s hardly a significant segment of the overall population.  Sadly, far more people never think twice about their civic responsibility or live comfortably feigning concern while expecting others to do the “heavy lifting” on their behalf.  That’s why probate abuse – including guardianship issues – and many other bad acts flourish.

Note that the bill kicks responsibility to the states not by providing new funding, but in allowing “states to use funding from an existing program to improve their monitoring of guardians.”  Many people interested in the guardianship issues think states currently are “bought off” or part of systemic corruption that make guardianships an illicit, but lucrative revenue stream for the legal industry and select court-related friends and associates.

EoD happens to agree.  So, what does this bill in and of itself prospectively change?  Without effective state-level activism to hold that government “closest to the people” accountable via implementation (and ongoing citizen oversight) of substantive reforms, is it anything more than another piece of federal “feel good” window dressing attempting to pass itself off as meaningful legislation?  And are taxpayer dollars well-used on such political theatre when targeted state-initiated efforts could likely be as, if not far more, effective?