Remarks by Representative James Murphy
in support of S. 2367 “Nicky’s Law”

Thank you Mr. Speaker and through you to the members,

I rise today in support of Senate Bill 2367, also known as Nicky’s Law, ‘An Act to protect persons with intellectual or developmental disability from abuse’.  This crucial legislation before us today would create a registry through the Disabled Persons Protection Commission of caretakers who have had a complaint issued against them for the abuse of persons with disabilities.

This bill was filed in response to the physical abuse by a caretaker against Nicky, a young man who has intellectual disabilities and is non-verbal.

In the past ten years criminal charges from abuse referrals have been in the range of ten to fifteen percent.

A number too high, requiring the legislature to take action to defend people with disabilities from caretakers who have committed substantiated incidents of abuse. The fact that a person can be removed from employment, but can return to work the next week at another facility with vulnerable individuals is wrong and against the public interest.

It is significant to note that this legislation is not A “criminal justice” bill. It is a safeguard against abuse, neglect and a way of restricting abusive caretakers from gaining access to vulnerable individuals.

It is critical to protect those that cannot shelter themselves from harm’s way and I am honored to support and co-sponsor this important bill. This legislation passed unanimously in the Senate and I am looking forward to passing this in Our House.

Mr. Speaker, under your leadership, the House has continued to work and address the issue of caretaker abuse throughout the Commonwealth. Across our districts, we hear from constituents about the abuse against loved ones.

With the passage of this bill today, we will ensure that those who are disabled and vulnerable are given the added protections that are essential and deserving. This is particularly important for individuals who have an urgent need for specialized help. Whether someone is trying to get care for themselves, or for a family member, it is imperative that we make sure all people have the information and access they need to make an informed AND safe decision.

I would like to thank and acknowledge the work of Senator Patrick O’Connor and Senator Michael Moore for filing this bill and their hard work and advocacy on this issue.

Today, we can all join together and empower our constituents, regardless of their abilities to have access to the care they need and deserve.

Thank you.