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6/9/2022 Assembly OKs bill lowering elder financial exploitation age
STATE HOUSE – With votes in both chambers today, the General Assembly approved legislation sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Cynthia A. Coyne and Rep. Jason Knight to lower the age at which a victim can be considered an elder under the state’s elder financial exploitation law.

The bill, which now goes to the governor, addresses an inconsistency in Rhode Island’s elderly abuse laws and helps ensure that all such cases can be appropriately prosecuted.

Although existing state law requires Rhode Islanders to report exploitation of any person age 60 or older, a person cannot be charged with elder financial exploitation unless the victim is at least 65. The bill (2022-S 2228, 2022-H 7246) lowers that threshold to 60 to match the reporting statute.

“This legislation closes a confusing and unintended gap between our requirement to report abuse and when charges can be brought for elder financial exploitation. Ultimately, it also protects more Rhode Islanders. A wider definition better ensures that more cases can be successfully prosecuted, and ultimately provides greater protection to Rhode Islanders,” said Senator Coyne (D-Dist. 32, Barrington, Bristol, East Providence), who led a task force on elderly financial exploitation from 2018 to 2019.

Said Representative Knight (D-Dist. 67, Barrington, Warren), “This bill recognizes that elder financial abuse can take many forms. It isn’t limited to people who are no longer able to handle their own affairs, and our laws need to account for more possibilities to ensure real protection against these crimes.”

The bill is cosponsored in the House by Rep. Liana Cassar (D-Dist. 66, Barrington, East Providence) and in the Senate by Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence), Sen. V. Susan Sosnowski (D-Dist. 37, South Kingstown, New Shoreham), Sen. Dawn Euer (D-Dist. 13, Newport, Jamestown), Sen. Ana B. Quezada (D-Dist. 2, Providence), Sen. John P. Burke (D-Dist. 9, West Warwick), Rep. Leonidas P. Raptakis (D-Dist. 33, Coventry, East Greenwich, West Greenwich) and Sen. Alana M. DiMario (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown).

For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-1923