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Gov. Tim Walz signs elder care protection package into law

ST. PAUL — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday, May 22, signed into law a sweeping set of policies aimed at protecting elder and vulnerable adults.

The move comes days after the state House of Representatives and Senate passed the package which will require licensing of assisted living facilities, ensure the rights of residents and allow residents and their families to record in their rooms to guard against abuse.

In the final days of the legislative session, a coalition of elder advocates, assisted living industry leaders and state regulators struck a deal after years of disagreement. It moved through the Legislature separate from catch-all spending and policy proposals that are stuck in limbo pending a special session.

“No Minnesotan or their family should have to worry about their safety when putting their trust in an assisted living facility,” Walz said in a statement. “Reports of elder abuse in Minnesota are tragic and unacceptable. This law will create long-overdue protections to help ensure every resident of an assisted living facility is cared for and safe."

Minnesota is the only state that doesn't license assisted living facilities. The licensing system mentioned in the law is set to go online in August of 2021.

The law would also provide protections for elders against termination of housing or retaliation if they report abuse or neglect.

“For more than two and a half years, we have been working with consumer advocates, families, care providers, state officials, and others on legislation to protect our seniors and most vulnerable," Sen. Karin Housley, R-St. Marys Point said. “This is a bipartisan bill that gives elderly and vulnerable Minnesotans the consumer protections they deserve and brings Minnesota in line with the rest of the nation in licensing our assisted living facilities. Caring for our seniors and most vulnerable must be a priority.”