Governor Walker Signs Bills Protecting Vulnerable Adults and Modernizing Asset Protection Laws - P.O.W. Report

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Governor Walker Signs Bills Protecting Vulnerable Adults and Modernizing Asset Protection Laws

SB 83 aligns state with Older Americans Act; HB 108 updates fiduciary laws to include digital property

August 2, 2017 ANCHORAGE—Governor Bill Walker today signed two pieces of legislation to update laws designed to protect Alaskans and their assets. Senate Bill 83 allows state agencies responsible for vulnerable seniors to work together more efficiently and effectively, while House Bill 108 updates Alaska’s fiduciary law by adapting it to today’s internet age. Both bills were signed in Anchorage.

“Our elders deserve safety, care, and accountability, and SB 83 contains reforms that will do just that,” Governor Walker said. “I thank the Long Term Care Ombudsman Teresa Holt and her team for getting this bill through the process, as well as the Departments of Revenue and Health and Social Services. Elder Alaskans are better off thanks to their efforts.”

SB 83, introduced by the Governor, clarifies Alaska law relating to the Office of the Long Term Care Ombudsman, and brings the state into full compliance with the federal Older Americans Act. It also enhances Adult Protective Services’ ability to serve vulnerable adults by allowing the use of videoconferencing technology in rural communities.

HB 108, introduced by Representative Matt Claman, modernizes Alaska’s asset protection laws to be inclusive of digital property. Previously, fiduciaries (i.e., trustees, court-appointed guardians, those with power of attorney, etc.) were prevented from managing the digital property of the persons they represent. The bill grants fiduciaries the ability to do so while building in important safeguards for consent and privacy.

“In the age of the internet, almost everyone has digital photographs, social media accounts, or other forms of online communications, but our statutes weren’t reflective of that reality,” said Governor Walker. “These reforms – combined with the privacy protection and consent components – bring Alaska into the modern age, and allow fiduciaries to effectively carry out their duties. I thank Representative Matt Claman and Senator Shelley Hughes for sponsoring and carrying this bill through the process.”

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