Making a Difference During Legislative Week
By Jeanne St. Onge
– WHAT IS ELDRS LEGISLATIVE WEEK? –
Initiated in 2019, the Elder Law and Disability Rights Section (ELDRS) of the State Bar, in collaboration with Capitol Services, host an annual ELDRS Legislative Week, allowing participants to meet with their Michigan legislators.
This year, ELDRS Legislative Week was held virtually May 10-14, 2021.
The week kicks off with a highly informative training session, hosted by Capitol Services. This session is perfect for anyone who needs a quick refresher of Michigan’s legislature. The overview includes a brief rundown of our current legislative season, a summary of the legislators currently in office, how to be an effective advocate for your cause, and much more.
Following the training, one-on-one meetings are scheduled throughout the week, giving each participant the opportunity to meet face-to-face, or rather, screen-to-screen due to the pandemic, with their elected house and senate legislators. These meetings allow for the practitioners and legislators to begin building a relationship, in addition to the chance to promote important ELDRS legislative causes.
– MICHIGAN LEGISLATORS –
Representatives from the Bassett Murray Law Group, PLLC, including attorney Amanda Murray, participated in this year’s Legislative Week. During the week, they had the opportunity to meet with staff of the following legislators:
– ELDRS LEGISLATIVE CAUSES –
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, being able to provide legal services for the elderly and persons with disabilities has proven to be a challenge. Early in the pandemic, Governor Whitmer issued a series of executive orders, which allowed for the use of digital technology to perform remote witnessing and notarization of legal documents. Legislature enacted PA 246-249 of 2020 to place language in the executive order into state law, effective until June 30, 2021.
Remote witnessing/notarizing has proven to be extremely beneficial for the elderly and persons with disabilities and should remain in effect even post-pandemic. ELDRS has been working with Representative Sarah Lightner to draft new legislation to make this a permanent change in our state law.
NURSING HOME CAMERAS (SB 33)
It is well known that senior citizens and persons with disabilities who live in group settings are often abused and/or neglected. It is a growing concern as more and more stories are hitting the news about the horrific events taking place in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, etc.
Thanks to the advances in modern technology, cameras and/or audio recorders are easily accessible and relatively simple to install. ELDRS strongly supports the option for residents in nursing homes to install cameras or other recording devices in their own room, should they elect to. The idea being that the presence of the camera and/or audio recorder would deter, reduce, and possibly prevent the abuse or neglect from occurring in the first place.
Senator Jim Runestad is currently sponsoring a Senate Bill to put language into effect giving nursing home residents the right to have cameras placed in their rooms.
Download your own copy of our
“ELDRS Legislative Week”