North Dakota is one of two states in the nation that doesn't require the mandatory reporting of abuse or neglect to vulnerable adults.
Senate Bill 2323 enacts a law similar to the mandatory reporting requirement for child abuse.
The bill says caregivers along with a list of professionals must make a report if they have knowledge of or witness abuse.
Bill sponsor Senator Phil Murphy says two million elderly are abused each year.
Trail County Social Worker, Kim Jacobson also testified in support of the bill.
"While we would all like to say North Dakota is a safe place to live and we take good care of our vulnerable adult populations. This is not always the case. Abuse and neglect happens each day. Our current system falls short in offering protections, consequences, resources and safety nets for this population group," says Jacobson.
Another bill, introduced by Senator Mac Schneider seeks to increase the penalty for those who exploit vulnerable adults, disabled and elderly.
"I think most recognize that obtaining $500.01 through the exploitation of someone who is vulnerable is probably more deserving of increased punishment than passing a bad check for the same amount," says Schneider.
Under the bill, exploiting a vulnerable adult is a
class C felony if the value of exploited funds or property is $500 or more.
At $10,000 it goes to a class B felony.
And class A felony if the value exceeds $50,000.