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Scott draws heat from AARP for veto of bill easing background checks

by John Kennedy | June 24th, 2011

Gov. Rick Scott‘s veto of legislation easing background screening for volunteers working with seniors drew heat Friday from the state’s leading advocacy organization for seniors — AARP.

“No one wants older Floridians exposed to abuse.  However, we believe the vetoed legislation struck a balance between protecting the clients of community service agencies and the capability of those agencies to provide needed services,” said Jeff Johnson, AARP’s interim director for Florida.

Scott killed SB 1992 Thursday, warning that relaxing the background screening could pose a risk to seniors.

But community organizations and senior advocates had sought the change, saying that a 2010 law revamping background checks left Meals on Wheels and other groups struggling to pay the costs of additional screening or having to ask volunteers to pay close to $45 each out of their own pocket for the check.

Johnson also ridiculed Scott for endorsing the Legislature’s decision to reduce the level of mandatory staffing at nursing homes, even as the governor contended he was watching out for seniors.

“It is odd that Gov. Scott vetoed this bill, but signed legislation that puts frail seniors more at risk — the law allowing nursing homes to reduce nursing care for the frailest of all Floridians,” Johnson said. “There is an abundance of evidence that cutting nursing-home staffing standards leads directly to serious, even tragic, health problems for nursing-home residents.”

Scott in his veto indicated he was planning to sign an executive order intended at reviewing the state’s policy for background screening. He suggested this might lead to some help for caregiving organizations facing shortfalls in both money and volunteers.

But Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, also said Scott was off-base with his veto. Pafford, who develops business partnerships for The Lord’s Place shelter in West Palm Beach, said the veto, “makes it very clear that he does not have either the information or the knowledge to make consistent decisions when it comes to executing bills passed by the Florida Legislature.”

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12 Responses to “Scott draws heat from AARP for veto of bill easing background checks”

  1. Staci Watkins Says:

    Background screening is critical for anyone working with a vulnerable class, whether they are working or volunteering for 40 hours or 4 hours. It should make no difference the amount of time they spend with this particular group of people. It only takes a few minutes to commit a crime against someone vulnerable.

    By implementing this law, we are telling those people who intent to do harm, that all they need to do is volunteer for less than 15 hours and they will get a free pass.

    Hats off Governor Scott! Don’t be moved by AARP, other politicians or anyone else who tells you this legislation is good for something, because it is just alarming!

  2. Robert Newman Says:

    it passed unanimously in both chambers, and bubblehead killed it…just awful. Better double those donations to those non profits doing all the work for your grandma…silly fool.

  3. Dee Says:

    Rich Scott = Death panel. Our frail need caregivers for their well being. Why would egghead reduce the number ratio for those unable to take care of themselves? Scott is a moron. He has destroyed jobs not created any. Come on Republicans step up to the plate call your republican legislative politicians to implement a recall bill so we can dump the worst governor on record.

  4. Margie Yansura Says:

    I agree with Mark Pafford. This governor does not seem to understand — or doesn’t care — about the negative implications of his actions on the people he was elected to serve.

  5. Mike Sankey Says:

    Most would agree the need for some type of check is self-evident. $45 is expensive and can create harships. However, free checks are worth the price paid; as they are merely a supplemental check of a partial database. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) sells its background checks for $24. Many other states with similar programs also have provisions for checks on volunteers to be at a lower price. Looks to me that the problem is the bill. A simple research project may have led a progressive legislator to introduce a bill to have these checks use FDLE with a provision for a lower price for volunteers (such as $15). I think your governor did the right thing; the message here is write a better law.

  6. Dave Allburn Says:

    That Sankey-guy is an industry guru…widely quoted and an expert on screening, trains the pros. You’re lucky to have attracted his input here. Pay attention to it.

  7. Denny Wood Says:

    Scott might gain the AARP’s respect by vetoing HB 849 on Monday. This is a roll back of our fine State Access Law, now part of the Florida Building Code. Stats on disability sky rocket with age.
    The letter to the governor about this bad bill is at http://www.dignity4disabled.com. The people with disabilites in the AARP did not vote for Sink and McCullum, both ADA violators. Scott needs to acknowledge where those 68,000 winning votes came from and vetoo HB 849

  8. PING Says:

    YEAH RICK SCOTT, THEN NOW HE WANTS TO SIGN A SILVER ALERT WHEN THESE VUNERABLE SENIORS COME UP MISSING FOR THESE NURSING HOMES, HES LAID OFF HALF THE POLICE AND CORRECTIONS FORCE, BE REAL OR GET REAL. HE BETTER HAVE A PRIVATE DUTY WATCH HIM AROUND THE CLOCK , CAUSE IF HE GETS OLD AND COME UP MISSING I DONT THINK HELL BE MISSED MUCH

  9. Rick Says:

    Skeletor is easy to figure out. If it’s good, Scott is against it. If it’s bad Scott is for it.

  10. Oh Please Says:

    Don’t be fooled by AARP. They sold retirees down the river with Obamacare. They have only one priority, their profit margin and now they’ll sell you expensive GAP insurance to help you out….right.

  11. michael Says:

    @Rick yes you right. Skeletor is ease to figure out

  12. HM Says:

    You. Get. What. You. Pay. For.

    When seniors are being robbed and molested by thugs and criminals….when today’s horror stories about foster kids are tame compared to what’s to come…when hotels with faulty sprinklers and unchecked, inoperative fire extinguishers burn down…like one did today in orlando…only next time 100 people die. When our government is nothing more than a sabotaged collection of minimum wage morons (and the minimum wage is actually lowered)…

    When Florida is ‘governed’ like Haiti…every man for himself and those with the most money rule….

    You can thank your buddy Rick Scott. And all the smart-*** teabaggers posting here. It will be their fault. No one else’s. Theirs.

    Their fault.

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