League-backed Bill Signed By Governor Mills

On April 2, Governor Mills signed L.D. 566, “An Act to Protect Vulnerable Adults from Financial Exploitation,” into law. The bill, which was sponsored by Representative Donna Bailey of Saco, requires broker-dealers and investment advisers to report instances of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult to the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, Office of Securities and the Department of Health and Human Services. In cases of suspicions of exploitation, the bill also provides advisers with the ability to delay disbursements and refrain from disclosing information to the party suspected of exploitation.

“The financial exploitation of vulnerable Mainers is an insidious crime. Eradicating it from our state will take the efforts of everyone, including state government, law enforcement, and financial professionals, working together in defense of Maine people,” said Governor Mills in a press release issued by her office. “This bill is a productive step forward and will help knock down the barriers between state agencies and law enforcement in combating financial exploitation and encourage early reporting. Together, we will protect more Maine seniors and vulnerable people from financial abuse.”

The League testified in support of this bill when it was before the Legislature’s Committee on Health Coverage, Insurance, and Financial Services. Our testimony highlighted how credit unions and the League protect our vulnerable members – including our work with Senior$afe, a training program which helps staff at financial institutions recognize the signs of elder financial abuse.

“This bill is an important step in our efforts to protect seniors from the constant threat of financial exploitation, ensuring that financial advisers on the front lines will be able to report what comes to their attention through work with clients,” said Representative Bailey. “I am grateful to the HCIFS Committee, the Legislature and the Governor for signing this bill into law, and to Maine’s own Judy Shaw for helping to draft the model legislation.”

Shaw is the Securities Administrator at the Maine Office of Securities, the department which directs the state’s Senior$afe program.