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SB 31 would require the Office of Court Administration to 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. The additional resources would be used for guardian compliance specialists.
The bill also would create a reporting system for judicial misconduct. The administrative director of the courts may notify the State Commission on Judicial Conduct in writing if the office has reason to believe that a judge’s actions or failure to act with respect to a report received from a guardianship compliance specialist constitutes judicial misconduct.
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 SB 31.