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View NCGA Bill Details2017-2018 Session
House Bill 539 (Public) Filed Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Intro. by Farmer-Butterfield, Howard, Earle, Setzer.

Status: Ref to the Com on Aging, if favorable, Judiciary I (House Action) (Apr 3 2017)

Bill History:

H 539

Bill Summaries:

  • Summary date: Mar 29 2017 - View Summary

    Enacts new GS Chapter 35C, Access to Elderly Adults, which provides as follows.

    Allows a relative (limited to the spouse, child, or sibling) of an elderly adult to file a petition with the clerk of superior court requesting access, including the opportunity to establish visitation or communication, to an elderly adult kept in isolation. Defines elderly adult as an individual 65 years of age or older, who is not a resident of a facility as defined in Section 483.5 of Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations, and who has been either adjudicated incompetent or diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or dementia. The act defines isolation to mean acts which prevent an elderly adult from receiving mail, electronic mail, telephone calls, personal contact, or personal communication from relatives. 

    Requires the clerk to schedule a hearing on the petition no later than 30 days after the date it is filed, unless the petition states that the elderly adult's health is in significant decline or death may be imminent, in which an emergency hearing must be conducted as soon as practicable, but no later than 10 days after the petition is filed. Sets out service requirements.

    Requires the clerk to consider 7 specified issues when determining whether to issue an order granting the petitioner access to the elderly adult, including whether the respondent's past acts kept the elderly adult in isolation, whether the elderly adult desires contact with the petitioner, and the best interest of the elderly adult. Provides that if after a hearing and a consideration of the listed factors, the clerk determines the petitioner has established, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the petitioner should be granted access to the elderly adult, the clerk must issue an order setting forth the terms of access to the elderly adult. Specifies that if the elderly adult is a resident of a facility as defined in section 483.5 of Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations, no order shall issue under the statute, and section 483.10 of Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations applies.

    Allows a party to appeal an order issued by the clerk for a de novo hearing in superior court.