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Advocates urge Pete Stark on Elder Justice Act

Advocates for the Elder Justice Act – legislation seeking to better fund Adult Protective Services, require increased reporting of nursing home abuse and support and train investigators, ombudsmen, police, and prosecutors – have undertaken a national video campaign that’s targeting, among others, Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont.

Organizations and activists have been pursuing this legislation for at least since 2003; the latest versions, S.795 and H.R. 2006, were introduced last April. Now advocates are looking to Stark – who chairs the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee – for help in ensuring some or all of the legislation’s provisions get folded into the House-Senate compromise on health-care reform.

They note that America has had federal child abuse laws since 1974 and federal domestic violence laws protecting women since 1994, but no good equivalent dealing with elder abuse. They’ve mounted an “Elder Justice Now!” online campaign, co-sponsored by the National Council on Aging and WITNESS, to raise awareness.

Among the campaign’s video offerings are the tale of an elderly Hayward woman beset by her wayward grandson’s thuggish doings…

…and testimonials from Robin Sanow and Jill Nielsen of Alameda County Adult Protective Services

Stark isn’t among the House version’s 67 cosponsors, but Barbara Lee of Oakland, Mike Honda and Zoe Lofgren of San Jose and Lynn Woolsey of Petaluma are; neither Dianne Feinstein nor Barbara Boxer are among the Senate version’s 16 cosponsors.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.