April 18, 2018

Cortez Masto Highlights Her Commitment to Safeguarding Nevada Seniors from Abuse and Exploitation

Washington, D.C. –  At today’s U.S. Senate Aging Committee hearing, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) highlighted the work she did as Attorney General of the state of Nevada to protect seniors from abuses in the state’s guardianship system. The reforms enacted in Nevada are crucial steps to ensuring that all seniors are protected from those in positions of power who may wish them harm. Senator Cortez Masto believes Nevada’s reformed guardianship laws should be a model for the rest of the country.

“I am sure that you all are aware of the New Yorker article about some of the abuses occurring in Nevada prior to 2013. Since that time, the state has drastically overhauled some of these laws to ensure that these abuses are ended, something that was not reported in the New Yorker article, unfortunately,” said Cortez Masto. “The overhaul of our guardianship laws began when I introduced legislation as Attorney General before I termed out. I had a bill package ready to go and I pre-filed it. This bill was specific about requiring private professional guardians to be licensed and bonded, created oversight for them by the commissioner of financial institutions, as well as laying out a strict fiduciary standard that they must follow.”

“That bill was passed. Along with that, we realized more needed to be done in Nevada to address this issue. In September of 2016, the Nevada Supreme Court issued results and recommendations in its final report. There are 14 recommendations for new court rules and 16 recommendations for legislative changes to the NRS. Those legislative changes were adopted. Those new court rules were adopted.”

“One of the things that Nevada did as part of its guardianship reform legislation of 2017, which I don’t think has been replicated anywhere else, is that it actually went further than a right to counsel for protected persons to create the requirement of counsel,” continued the Senator.

Panel participant Professor Nina Kohn, Chair of the Elder Rights Committee of the Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section of the American Bar Association, stated in response that “Nevada’s requirement is the best practice.”

The Chairwoman of the Aging Committee Senator Susan Collins highlighted Senator Cortez Masto’s work to improve Nevada’s guardianship system and praised “her experience and the reforms that she instituted.”