Both the Senate and House unanimously approved a measure Thursday making various types of abuse against elderly and incapacitated Oklahomans a felony. Principal Senate author Sen. Ron Justice said the measure, which strengthens Elderly and Incapacitated Person Act, was long over due.
"We do all we can to protect our children and we need to do the same for our elderly and disabled. Society sometimes tends to forget about these individuals but they are just as vulnerable if not more so than children because most don’t have the supervision that children do," said Justice, R-Chickasha.
"Unfortunately, we have some in our society that prey on these individuals physically and financially because many of them don't have anyone looking out for their well-being, and we need to have laws in place to keep that from happening."
SB 1600 was a request bill from the Oklahoma Silver Haired Legislature. The measure increases the punishment from a misdemeanor to a felony for the crimes of assault and battery, aggravated assault and battery, assault with a weapon and caretaker abuse including verbal, physical and sexual abuse as well as exploitation.
“I’m so glad to finally get this important bill to the Governor’s desk. It’s going to make a world a difference for so many in our state,” said Justice. “These individuals are the people that helped shape our great state. They worked hard all their lives and this bill will help protect their rights and ensure that their final years are peaceful ones.”
The bill now advances to the Governor’s desk.