In a sad and consequential rebuff to California’s elderly residents of assisted living facilities, Governor Schwarzenegger has vetoed SB 1329, the RCFE Residents Foreclosure Protection Act. The bill would have required operators of Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly to report severe financial distress, such as foreclosure or bankruptcy, to their residents and to the state Department of Social Services (DSS).
The governor’s veto message disingenuously claimed that SB 1329 would “represent a new unfunded workload” for DSS, usurping resources needed for “immediate health and safety issues.” SB 1329 imposed no costs on DSS; rather, it gave DSS full discretion over how to respond to reports of financial distress. Failure to require notice of financial distress will certainly cause immediate health and safety issues to the hundreds of resident currently in facilities that will close in the next year from foreclosure, bankruptcy, or otherwise failing to pay their bills. The most riveting testimony for SB 1329 involved facilities that were abruptly shut down by court–order wielding sheriff’s officers, leaving residents in the streets scrambling for a place to go.
Despite the setback of the governor’s veto, CANHR will continue to work to protect RCFE residents from the abrupt loss of their home due to a facility’s financial distress. If you know any victims of an RCFE foreclosure or bankruptcy, please contact tony(at)canhr.org or use the “Contact Us” link on the left toolbar.
Governor’s Veto Message
To the Members of the California State Senate:
I am returning Senate Bill 1329 without my signature.
While I appreciate the author’s continued effort to improve protections for residential care facilities, this bill would represent a new unfunded workload and redirect scarce resources that are currently dedicated to immediate health and safety issues.
For this reason, I am unable to sign this bill.