Thousands of guardians across Wyoming and in neighboring states are celebrating today as Governor Matt Mead signed into law SF39 – a bill that will remove the barriers that previously limited guardians from providing continuous care across state lines. The bill, which comes at no cost to Wyoming taxpayers, passed unanimously out of both chambers of the legislature.
“AARP applauds Governor Mead and the legislature for recognizing the burden that guardians face in trying to provide care across state lines and adopting a common-sense approach to ease that burden,” said Tim Summers, AARP Wyoming State Director. “Guardians in Wyoming will now be able to focus on providing care for their loved ones, instead of spending time caught up in lengthy and expensive court proceedings.”
The Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (UAGPPJA) was sponsored by Wyoming Senate President Tony Ross (Cheyenne). Wyoming House sponsors included Speaker Thomas Lubnau (Gillette), Representative Tim Stubson (Casper) and Representative Sue Wilson (Cheyenne).
The UAGPPJA will require the Wyoming court system to recognize guardianships that are established in other states. An adult guardian is a legally appointed person or entity with the right to make personal and property decisions for another adult who is not capable of making their own decisions. Thirty-five states, including all states that are contiguous to Wyoming, have already passed the law – meaning that guardianships established in Wyoming would also be recognized by the court systems in the other states that have passed this law.
“Families are more mobile than ever these days, with out of state guardians becoming increasingly more common,” added Summers. “This new law is critical to ensuring that guardians can provide quality care to their loved ones, regardless of where they live.”
Prior to the passage of the law, Wyoming would not recognize guardianships established in other states. If a guardian brought their loved one to Wyoming from a neighboring state, the guardian would have to pursue yet another guardianship case within the Wyoming court system – resulting in an additional burden and expense for the guardian and also burdening the courts.
[Photo by AARP Wyoming Staff]