Nofs introduces bill to protect seniors

LANSING — State Sen. Mike Nofs introduced legislation Wednesday to help protect Michigan’s seniors, stop elder abuse and prosecute offenders. Nofs participated in an unveiling of the 16-bill package with lawmakers and advocates on Older Michiganians Day at the state Capitol.

“As a state police trooper, I saw the tremendous impact of abuse, neglect and exploitation on our seniors,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “Often elder abuse cases go unreported or unpunished, because many seniors are too intimidated – or even embarrassed – to come forward or testify. My bill would help solve this problem by enabling victims to testify in court without fear of being physically confronted by their abusers.”

Nofs’ measure, Senate Bill 454, would allow victims of alleged vulnerable adult abuse to give testimony via closed circuit television or a pre-recorded video. For constitutional reasons, this would be limited to criminal cases where circumstances meet those required by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Other items in the package, Senate Bills 455-468 would:

  • Improve coordination between state and local authorities;
  • Create a senior medical alert for missing seniors, similar to an Amber Alert;
  • Increase penalties for financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult; and
  • Further protect those that are at risk of being exploited without placing an unmanageable burden on their guardians.

“It has been estimated that 80,000 Michigan seniors are physically, emotionally or financially victimized every year,” Nofs said. “With the baby boomer generation beginning to retire, it is more important than ever to address elder abuse.”

Senate Bills 454-468 have been referred to the Senate Families, Seniors and Human Services Committee for consideration.

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Editor’s Note: A photograph of Nofs announcing his legislation is available on the senator’s photowire at: www.senate.michigan.gov/senators/photowire.asp?District=19.

Senate passes Nofs bill to combat mortgage fraud

LANSING –- Legislation sponsored by Sen. Mike Nofs was approved Tuesday by the Michigan Senate as part of a package to help combat mortgage fraud and punish offenders.

“Michigan families deserve protection against mortgage fraud, which unfortunately still devastates innocent Michigan families every year,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “This crime robs residents of the American dream, undermines the faith in our financial system and drives down property values. My bill, and this entire package, will help protect consumers from mortgage fraud and give law enforcement officials the tools necessary to investigate, prosecute and punish mortgage fraud offenders.”

Nofs’ measure, Senate Bill 251, would extend the statute of limitations for bringing an indictment for mortgage fraud from 6 to 10 years.

“This is about giving fairness to homeowners and just punishment for offenders,” said Nofs, vice chair of the Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee. “Mortgage fraud can take a long time to come to light. When the victim discovers and reports the crime, it is often too late to prosecute. By expanding the timeframe, we solve this problem and give officials a longer investigation period.

The nine-bill package would classify mortgage fraud as a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. It includes reforms to increase the penalties for fraudulent activities such as counterfeiting or forging real estate deeds and violating the notary public law.

Senate Bills 43, 44 and 249-253 have been sent to the House for further consideration. Two other bills, House Bills 4462 and 4478, pertaining to forging deeds, are currently pending before the House Judiciary Committee.
 

Nofs praises Calhoun County for response

 

LANSING –- Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, issued a statement today praising Calhoun County officials, emergency crews and volunteers for their response in the face of the disaster from recent storms.

“The damage wrought by this past weekend’s storm reminds us of the awesome power of nature. But even in the wake of some truly incredible damage, the power of the human spirit was on even more forceful display.

“Despite the devastation, I am proud of the response by the local units of government, emergency responders, utility crews, and the citizens of Calhoun County. I have heard and read about numerous reports of neighbors and entire neighborhoods banding together to help one another. This is the essence of a community and the type of can-do spirit that makes Calhoun County a special place to live.

“I was heartened by several news reports I heard in which residents, while obviously saddened by their loss, reflected that damage had thankfully only been to material possessions and not to family, friends or neighbors. This, I think, places things in the proper perspective.

“I have been in contact with Gov. Snyder’s office and have been assured that he and his administration stand ready to assist our area in whatever way they can as recovery efforts continue. The disaster declaration issued by the governor on Tuesday puts the wheels in motion to allow the necessary equipment and resources to be made available to agencies and areas that need it. 

“In the meantime, my staff and I stand ready to assist those with questions or concerns about recovery efforts or assistance that might be available.”

Residents may contact Nofs’ office at 517-373-2426 or by email at senmnofs@senate.michigan.gov.