Governor signs Butler bills

October 8, 2012

AB 1700 will ensure fair tax liability after death of property co-owner

AB 2149 Bans Gag Orders in Senior and Dependent Adult Settlement Cases

Betsy Butler is finishing her first term as assembly member and running for another as WeHo's representative in the State Assembly.

Assembly member Betsy Butler (D-Los Angeles) announced last week that Governor Brown has signed two of her bills.

He signed AB 1700, a bill to protect surviving property owners from excessive property taxes when a co-owner dies. 

He also signed AB 2149, which bans gag orders in senior and dependent adult settlement cases

“AB 1700 protects surviving co-owners from the financial hardship of property reassessment when a loved one passes away,” said Assembly member Butler. 

“People who are unmarried, live and own a home together, whether by choice or because of the law, should have the same rights as married co-tenants.”

This bill is needed to protect already grieving co-owners from being held liable for the property tax assessed to their deceased partner.  Existing law makes a difficult situation for anyone into a financial nightmare for the surviving co-owner. 

"We are pleased that Governor Brown recognized that the loss of a beloved partner is devastating and should not come with the added burden of a dramatic increase in taxes for individuals on a fixed income or, worse, the trauma of losing one's home," said Clarissa Filgioun, Equality California board president.

"We are grateful for the hard work of Assembly member Betsy Butler in assuring LGBT people an equal opportunity to stay in the homes they've built over a lifetime with the person they love."

AB 1700 protects gay seniors' home after the death of their partners. Photo by WeHo News.

The bill was supported by Equality California, the California Apartment Association, the California Association of Realtors, the California National Organization of Women, the Congress of California Seniors, and the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, among others.

AB 2149 bans gag orders in elder abuse and dependent adult settlement cases.

"For seniors at risk of elder abuse, silence can be a killer,” said Assembly member Butler.  “The Governor’s support of this measure ensures that victims of elder abuse will not have to choose between the settlement they are entitled to and punishing their abuser under the law. 

“This bill allows seniors to protect other seniors.”

“AB 2149 makes it harder for those who would harm the state’s seniors and dependent adults from hiding,” continued Butler. 

“This bill will keep more seniors from falling victim to manipulation, fraud or physical abuse.”

Whether physical or financial abuse, victims seeking recourse under California's Elder Abuse law through litigation are sometimes asked to sign settlement agreements prohibiting the victim or the victim’s family from contacting or cooperating with law enforcement or other governmental agencies.

AB 2149 helps track down and punish senior abuse suspects.

This arrangement benefits the abuser, strips seniors’ of their right to tell others what has happened to them and serves to enable future abuse of vulnerable seniors. 

“The California Commission on Aging believes it is critical for the appropriate investigative authorities to track and prosecute alleged perpetrators, ending the potential for further abuse.  We are grateful for Assembly member Butler’s commitment to this issue,” said Commission Chair Bert Bettis.

Last year, Assembly member Butler’s legislation, AB 332, raising fines and penalties of repeat identity theft and abuse offenders was signed into law.

California had an estimated 600,000 cases of vulnerable adult abuse statewide in 2010, with approximately 40% identified as financial abuse. In addition, the state is a prime target for abuse as the nation’s highest retirement destination, with a population greater than 6.5 million people over age 60.

California continues to be the state with the greatest number of elder abuse cases in the United States, accounting for 10.6% of all elder abuse cases. 

Assembly member Betsy Butler represents California’s 53rd Assembly District, comprised of the communities of Venice, Marina del Rey, El Segundo, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Torrance, Lomita, and portions of the City of Los Angeles.

She is running to represent West Hollywood and the other areas in the newly-drawn 50th Assembly district.

For more information, visit www.asmdc.org/butler.