Cook: New law helps older Hoosiers, those with disabilities remain independent

Cook: New law helps older Hoosiers, those with disabilities remain independent

Posted by: Andi TenBarge  | Friday, July 19, 2019

STATEHOUSE (July 19, 2019) – Gov. Eric Holcomb recently signed legislation into law co-sponsored by State Rep. Tony Cook (R-Cicero) helping adults with disabilities and older Hoosiers maintain their independence.

The new law requires anyone filing a legal request for full guardianship of an adult with a disability or someone who is elderly to prove they have exhausted all less-restrictive options. Cook said the law allows for supported decision-making agreements where people with disabilities and older adults can receive consultation from a trusted group formed to help guide them when making important decisions.

“The supported decision-making agreement is built on good faith, and preserves the adult’s involvement in the decision-making process,” Cook said. “This individualized tool ensures a sense of control and dignity.”

According to Cook, this decision-making support group could include anyone the adult chooses, like a power of attorney, health care representative and representative payee. The individual and the group supporting them decide how involved they will be in the adult’s decision-making process.

“Whether the person is making decisions regarding their health care or finances, this supported decision-making group is there to help them work through important choices,” Cook said. “This new agreement provides some guidance, but the choice is ultimately up to the individual.” 

The legislation received support from the House, Senate and disability advocacy groups including the Arc of Indiana.

“Our goal in passing Senate Enrolled Act 380 was to provide Hoosiers the necessary decision-making support systems they need to live strong, independent lives,” said State Sen. Randy Head (R-Logansport), co-author of the new law. “With its passage, Hoosiers now have access to groups that share in their best interest.”  

“The Arc of Indiana is very grateful for the leadership and support of several Indiana legislators, especially Rep. Tony Cook, who helped make this important piece of legislation law,” said Kim Dodson, executive director for The Arc of Indiana. “Indiana is now a leader in helping people with disabilities remain independent and in control of their own decisions. Senate Enrolled Act 380 now provides another tool to help people with disabilities and who are elderly make informed decisions regarding important issues in their lives.”

For more information about the new law, visit iga.in.gov.

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State Rep. Tony Cook (R-Cicero) represents House District 32, which includes all of Tipton County and portions of Hamilton, Madison, Delaware, Howard and Grant counties.