HARRISBURG – The PA Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation strengthening the state’s guardianship laws. When a court determines that an adult is incapacitated, it appoints a professional or family guardian responsible for making certain decisions on the adult’s behalf. After the court transfers legal responsibilities, the guardian can make financial, medical, and personal decisions that the adult is unable to make for themselves. In October 2019, three court-appointed guardians embezzled over $1 million from 108 victims in six PA counties. With over 19,000 active guardianships in PA, Senate Bill 1333 will prevent fraud, abuse, and exploitation, and increase representation for Pennsylvanians. The bill appoints counsel for incapacitated persons without representation; requires certification for professional guardians; and advises courts to first explore alternatives to guardianship such as habilitation programs, representative payees managing public benefits, and family or friends serving as health care representatives. The bill now goes to the full state Senate.