PIERRE — State senators agreed Thursday that a task force should be created to study elderly abuse in South Dakota.
Sen. David Novstrup, R-Aberdeen, said Chief Justice David Gilbertson was asked and agreed to fund the work from the state Unified Judicial System budget.
The chief justice also will receive authority to make the most appointments to the task force, Novstrup said.
Gilbertson would receive five slots to fill, the governor three, the Senate president pro tem three and the House speaker three.
“All three branches have a stake in it,” Novstrup said. “We can also look outside of our borders to get their ideas.
He added, “This is a serious issue, and we need to get in front of it.”
The budget will have a maximum of $15,000 and UJS employees will serve as the staff for the task force.
Gilbertson, during his State of the Judiciary speech to the Legislature on Jan. 14, spoke about elder abuse and said he stands ready to work with others on it.
Senate Democratic leader Billie Sutton of Burke praised the effort Thursday. Sutton suggested someone from the banking sector, or a state banking regulator, should be on the task force.
Sutton said there are privacy restrictions that can affect and limit the information a bank can provide about activities happening within a person’s account.
“I hope that’s considered when this task force is being set,” Sutton said.
Senate Republican leader Tim Rave of Baltic said he agreed with Sutton’s remarks and thanked Gilbertson for agreeing to the funding.
The measure, Senate Bill 168, won approval 31-0. It now goes to the House of Representatives, where Rep. Timothy Johns, R-Lead, is the lead sponsor. Johns is a retired circuit judge.
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Elder abuse task force receives Senate OK