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  86R1815 KFF-D
 
  By: Zaffirini, et al. S.B. No. 31
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to establishing a guardianship abuse, fraud, and
  exploitation deterrence program.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Chapter 72, Government Code, is amended by
  adding Subchapter G to read as follows:
  SUBCHAPTER G. GUARDIANSHIP ABUSE, FRAUD, AND EXPLOITATION
  DETERRENCE PROGRAM
         Sec. 72.121.  DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:
               (1)  "Guardianship proceeding" has the meaning
  assigned by Section 1002.015, Estates Code.
               (2)  "Program" means the guardianship abuse, fraud, and
  exploitation deterrence program established by this subchapter.
         Sec. 72.122.  ESTABLISHMENT OF PROGRAM. (a) The office
  shall establish and maintain a guardianship abuse, fraud, and
  exploitation deterrence program designed to provide additional
  resources and assistance to courts that have jurisdiction over
  guardianship proceedings by:
               (1)  engaging guardianship compliance specialists who
  shall:
                     (A)  review the guardianships of wards and
  identify reporting deficiencies by guardians;
                     (B)  audit annual accounts required to be filed by
  guardians under Chapter 1163, Estates Code, or other law and report
  their findings to the appropriate courts;
                     (C)  work with courts to develop best practices in
  managing guardianship cases; and
                     (D)  report to the appropriate courts any concerns
  of potential abuse, fraud, or exploitation, including financial
  exploitation, committed against a ward and discovered as a result
  of the specialists' work under this section; and
               (2)  maintaining an electronic database to monitor
  filings of:
                     (A)  inventories, appraisements, and lists of
  claims required under Chapter 1154, Estates Code, or Section
  1203.203, Estates Code;
                     (B)  annual reports required under Section
  1163.101, Estates Code; and
                     (C)  any other reports and accounts required of
  guardians under Chapter 1163, Estates Code, or other law.
         (b)  A court is required to participate in the program,
  including allowing guardianship compliance specialists to conduct
  reviews and audits under the program, if the court is selected by
  the office to participate in the program.
         (c)  A court may apply to the office in the manner and form
  prescribed by the office for participation in the program.
         Sec. 72.123.  NOTIFICATION OF STATE COMMISSION ON JUDICIAL
  CONDUCT. The director may notify the State Commission on Judicial
  Conduct in writing if the office has reason to believe that a
  judge's actions or failure to act with respect to a report received
  from a guardianship compliance specialist indicating a concern
  described by Section 72.122(a)(1)(D) constitutes judicial
  misconduct.
         Sec. 72.124.  ANNUAL REPORT. Not later than January 1 of
  each year, the office shall submit a report to the legislature
  regarding the performance of the program. The report must include:
               (1)  the number of courts involved in the program;
               (2)  the number of guardianships reviewed by
  guardianship compliance specialists;
               (3)  the number of reviewed guardianship cases found to
  be out of compliance with statutory reporting requirements;
               (4)  the number of cases reported to a court concerning
  potential abuse, fraud, or exploitation, including financial
  exploitation, committed against a ward; and
               (5)  the status of any technology developed to monitor
  guardianship cases for purposes of the program.
         SECTION 2.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2019.