FRANKFORT — Gov. Steve Beshear and Kentucky's top two legislative leaders — Senate President Robert Stivers and House Speaker Greg Stumbo — pledged support Thursday for measures to create a registry of caregivers with records of adult abuse, neglect or exploitation.
"I have long advocated for legislation to protect not only our vulnerable adults but also their families," Beshear said at a news conference at the Capitol. "The family members who hired these caretakers have a right to know whether potential employees have a documented history of hurting, neglecting or exploiting the elderly. This registry provides a simple, reliable check to give families and our senior citizens good information when hiring caregivers."
Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said the registry "will go a long way in protecting some of Kentucky's most vulnerable citizens while giving their families greater peace of mind."
Stivers said the support for the registry shows what bipartisanship can produce.
Later Thursday, the Senate approved the registry issue in Senate Bill 98, sponsored by Sen. Sara Beth Gregory, R-Monticello, on a 36-0 vote. A similar measure, House Bill 256, sponsored by Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo, D-Lexington, is to be heard next Thursday in the House Health and Welfare Committee.
The registry would be maintained by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Beshear said the 2012-2014 state budget contained $2.2 million to support creation of the registry, but the enabling legislation was not enacted.
If the legislation is enacted this year, he said, that funding would be used to pay for the registry.
Jack Brammer: (502) 227-1198. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: Bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com.