Subscribe to receive our Floor Reports covering all the action on the Texas House and Senate floor!
Relating to establishing a guardianship abuse, fraud, and exploitation deterrence program.
The Legislative Budget Board expects HB 1286 to have a negative impact of $5,941,638 through the biennium ending August 31, 2021. The bill would make no appropriation but could provide the legal basis for an appropriation of funds to implement the provisions of the bill.
HB 1286 would establish and maintain a guardianship abuse, fraud, and exploitation deterrence program designed to provide additional resources and assistance to courts that have jurisdiction over guardianship proceedings by employing guardianship compliance specialists.
These specialists would review the guardianships of wards and identify reporting deficiencies by guardians, audit annual accounts required to be filed by guardians and report their findings to the appropriate courts. They would also work with courts to develop best practices in managing guardianship cases and report to the appropriate courts any concerns of potential abuse, fraud, or exploitation, including financial exploitation, committed against a ward. The specialists would also maintain an electronic database to monitor filings of inventories, appraisements, and lists of claims. The Office of Court Administration would be able to require courts to participate in this program.
So long as the state is in a position to assign guardianship of wards, the state should also be careful to ensure wards are not abused by their appointed guardians. That said, we are cautious about the expense of this program and the number of new employees which will be required according to the Legislative Budget Board.
Because we believe the purpose this bill addresses is a legitimate function of government but we do not have data to determine whether this is the most efficient and effective way to address the issue within a limited government framework, we will remain neutral on HB 1286.