STAND. COM. REP. NO. 479
RE: S.B. No. 531
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirtieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2019
State of Hawaii
Your Committees on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health and Human Services, to which was referred S.B. No. 531 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO HEALTH,"
beg leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to make financial exploitation of an elder by a caregiver a Class A felony.
Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, County of Hawai‘i; Department of the Prosecuting Attorney of the City and County of Honolulu; Honolulu Police Department; Hawaii Credit Union League; O‘ahu County Committee on Legislative Priorities of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i; and five individuals. Your Committees received comments on this measure from the Department of Human Services.
Your Committees find that there is a growing trend of financial exploitation of an elder by a caregiver. Caregivers gain extensive knowledge of their client's financial situation during the course of their work and in cases where an elderly person is dependent on a caregiver for physical and social support, the elderly person can be particularly vulnerable to financial exploitation. Financial exploitation of the elderly often causes permanent damage, as they are typically unable to rejoin the workforce to rebuild their finances. Furthermore, abuse by caregivers can leave victims isolated and vulnerable and unwilling to trust another caregiver, resulting in diminished quality of life.
Your Committees have heard the concerns raised in testimony that elders are only one segment of a larger population of vulnerable adults that rely on caregivers and are therefore prey to financial exploitation. All vulnerable adults reliant on caregivers share the exposure to and consequences of financial exploitation by caregivers.
Accordingly, your Committees have amended this measure by:
(1) Clarifying that the offense established by this measure is financial exploitation of a vulnerable person, rather than an elderly person, and making associated conforming amendments;
(2) Amending the elements of the offense of financial exploitation and definition of "caregiver" for consistency with the existing definitions of "caregiver" and "financial exploitation" in chapter 346, Hawaii Revised Statutes;
(3) Updating its purpose section; and
(4) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health and Human Services that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 531, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 531, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Judiciary.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health and Human Services,
RUSSELL E. RUDERMAN, Chair
ROSALYN H. BAKER, Chair