ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Lawmakers are working to pass a bill to protect Southwest Georgia's senior citizens from abuse. Its passing could be put into motion within days.
Experts said one in 10 elders are abused every day in America, and 500 million are abused each year.
These stats are the reason state lawmakers are ready for Governor Nathan Deal to sign this bill that could put an end to elder abuse across Southwest Georgia.
"These old people just do not deserve this, they don't deserve being abused," said Cindy Myrick, an Albany resident.
Due to the high volume of senior abuse across the country, Georgia lawmakers are working to put an end to the mistreatment.
"We have an aging elderly population in Southwest Georgia and so this bill directly affects Southwest Georgia. This is going to directly affect our elderly population," said District 153 Georgia House Representative Darrel Ealum.
Senate Bill 406, also known as the Georgia Long-Term Care Background Check Program will require every individual who works with seniors in the state of Georgia go through a comprehensive criminal background check, a fingerprint process and be put on a registry database.
"What's happening is some of these unscrupulous owners that take people's social security money, they house them. They do deplorable things to them and we've had that happen in our area," said SOWEGA Council on Aging Executive Director Debbie Blanton.
This law will help prosecute and close nursing homes or personal care homes down if they are doing wrong or have negative results in the database or background check.
"That's when that employer is going to be liable for up to a $10,000 fine, $500 for every day they keep that employee on their parole," explained Ealum.
Some citizens are happy the fines could stop the abuse physically, verbally and even caretakers who rob this population.
"If they have a bill to be passed, it should be done. I think it'll make me feel a lot better because these people do not deserve this," said Myrick.
Right now, this bill is sitting on the governor's desk awaiting his signature. Ealum said he is confident the governor will sign this bill before May 8.