Alabama elder abuse legislation

The Alabama Legislature is making it easier to prosecute people who abuse, neglect or financially exploit senior citizens.

   The House and Senate passed different versions of the bill earlier in the Senate and then agreed on the same version on Monday night shortly before the 2013 legislative session ended.

   The Protecting Alabama's Elders Act was pushed by Republican Sen. Cam Ward of Alabaster and Republican Rep. Paul DeMarco of Homewood. Proponents said it better defines what constitutes elder abuse and increases the penalties for the most serious offenses.

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Alabama lawmakers have passed bills that would make it easier to criminally charge people who abuse, neglect or financially exploit the elderly.

The sponsors say they expect the governor to sign one of the bills into law once the two slightly different versions are reconciled.

The Senate sponsor, Republican Sen. Cam Ward of Alabaster, says only one word in the measure that passed the Senate is different from the House-passed version sponsored by Republican Rep. Paul DeMarco of Homewood.

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Two bills proposed for the legislative session starting Feb. 5 will provide additional criminal penalties for the abuse, neglect and financial exploitation of older citizens.

Two Republican legislators, Sen. Cam Ward of Alabaster and Rep. Paul DeMarco of Homewood, announced the legislation Monday in Shelby County along with the state director of Senior Services, Neal Morrison. The legislation is recommended by the Alabama Interagency Council for Prevention of Elder Abuse and is backed by the governor.

The bills would apply to victims who are 60 or older.

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Two Republican legislators are planning to push legislation in the upcoming session to prevent elder abuse and increase the penalties for offenders.

Sen. Cam Ward of Alabaster and Rep. Paul DeMarco of Homewood plan to announce the legislation Monday afternoon, along with the state's director of Senior Services, Neal Morrison. . The event will be at the Heardmont Senior Center in Shelby County.