Push to reform Minnesota's flawed system for protecting seniors falls short at Capitol
Elder care, taxes on list of items left undone Housley touts new protections, admits shortfalls
By Chris Serres Star Tribune
MAY 22, 2018 — 5:40AM
In a blow to Gov. Mark Dayton and families of elder abuse victims, the 2018 Legislature adjourned without adopting a series of broad-based reforms to Minnesota’s flawed system for protecting vulnerable seniors from maltreatment.
Weeks of intense negotiation involving the Dayton administration, Republican legislators and a coalition of senior organizations over a bipartisan deal collapsed over the weekend, leaving few new protections for the estimated 85,000 Minnesotans who live in senior care facilities across the state.
All the major reforms sought by Dayton, including a licensing framework for the state’s fast-growing assisted-living industry and protections against arbitrary evictions, failed to survive the legislative gantlet and stiff opposition from the nursing home industry. Instead, legislators adopted several modest provisions that delay reform and, in some cases, actually weaken senior protections, elder advocates said. These provisions were included in the Legislature’s budget bill, which Dayton has pledged to veto.
“This was a train wreck,” said Kristine Sundberg, president of Elder Voice Family Advocates, a coalition of relatives of abuse victims.
“The measures [in the budget bill] are so weak and watered down — that they may actually have moved the state backwards.”