COLUMBUS — Reps. Daniel P. Troy (D-Willowick) and Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) today introduced bipartisan legislation protecting Ohio's growing senior population from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The bill improves current elder abuse reporting laws by establishing a mechanism for levying and enforcing penalties upon those who knowingly fail to report instances of abuse, neglect, and exploitation against senior citizens.
“Prior to the pandemic and my return to the General Assembly, I was a member of a collaborative group in Lake County that focused on elder justice issues. I made presentations to various community organizations, and worked to raise awareness about the prevalence of senior citizen abuse. This bill protects seniors by closing loopholes within the state's mandatory reporting laws while ensuring individuals who've made a conscious decision to not report abuse are held responsible,” said Rep. Troy.
“Bringing clarity to the enforcement of our existing prohibitions on elderly abuse is a worthwhile effort, and I am pleased to join my colleague in jointly-sponsoring this legislation,” Rep. Seitz added.
Under current law, an individual who knowingly fails to report abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a senior citizen may be fined up to $500. However, the law provides no guidance or direction for assessing and (or) collecting the fine, leading to judicial ambiguity and justice unserved. The proposed bill eliminates confusion and holds guilty parties responsible by elevating the punishment for failing to report abuse against senior citizens to a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
The legislation now awaits a bill number and referral to a House committee.