left to right: AARP Advocacy Manager Jack McRay, AARP ASD for Advocacy Dorene Barker, State Rep. Diamond, AARP ASD for Advocacy Zayne Smith.

TALLAHASSEE — In recognition of their work during the 2017 Florida Legislative Session in protecting Florida’s most vulnerable residents, state Sen. Kathleen Passidomo (R – Naples) and state Rep. Ben Diamond (D – St. Petersburg) were presented with the AARP Florida Legislative Achievement Award

The legislators authored Senate Bill 172 and House Bill 399, which ensures that additional safeguards are implemented to protect vulnerable adults in Florida’s guardianship process. Gov. Rick Scott signed the legislation into law on May 9, 2017. The legislation establishes broader protections against mistreatment of residents in a guardianship and modifies requirements for annual guardianship reports. The legislation is seen by AARP as a major victory in Florida and a continuation of reform efforts to help some of Florida’s most at-risk residents.

left to right: AARP ASD for Advocacy Zayne Smith, AARP ASD for Advocacy Dorene Barker, State Sen. Passidomo, AARP Advocacy Manager Jack McRay.

Sen. Passidomo has been a tireless advocate for Florida’s seniors. She successfully sponsored and passed legislation that protects seniors from fraud and holds their guardians accountable. She was also instrumental in passing legislation that prevents scammers from hiding behind loopholes in the law and allows clerks of court to audit adult guardianship accounts to ensure that legal guardians do not take advantage Florida’s residents who are at most in danger of financial fraud.

As a freshman legislator, Rep. Diamond was able to jump in the fight to protect Florida seniors. He was successful in passing legislation that continued necessary reforms to Florida’s guardianship system and amended legislation to include a high standard of protection for vulnerable adults.

“Senator Passidomo and Representative Diamond appreciate the importance of protecting older Floridians,” said AARP Florida Advocacy Manager Jack McRay. “We are pleased to recognize them with this much-deserved AARP Florida Legislative Achievement Award.”