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Legislature toughens elder abuse penalties

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news Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Legislature has sent Gov. Mark Dayton a bill to punish caregivers with prison time and fines if they're convicted of severely neglecting elderly patients or vulnerable adults.

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The Star Tribune reports Friday (http://bit.ly/HYBjcp ) that Dayton supports the bill. It creates a felony provision in state law aimed at caregivers who intentionally deprive vulnerable adults of food, clothing, shelter, health care or supervision.

Minnesota has been one of five states that classified such crimes as misdemeanors, with little or no jail time and minimal fines even in cases where vulnerable people were found suffering in squalid conditions.

Some in the care industry worried their workers could be punished for honest mistakes or missteps, but a compromise was reached that reserves some protections for workers and facilities.

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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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