COLUMBUS, Ohio — A proposed state law that would allow cameras to legally be placed inside rooms of nursing home residents in Ohio moved another step forward Thursday as lawmakers heard compelling testimony in Columbus.
Senate Bill 58 , known as "Ester's Law" after an elderly northeast Ohio woman whose abuse was captured on a hidden camera placed by her son, has already won approval from the Ohio Senate and now is in a House committee where it underwent its first hearing.
Members of the House Families, Aging and Human Services Committee listened to proponent testimony that included Senators Nickie Antonio and Andrew Brenner who sponsored the legislation.
Brenner told lawmakers the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services reported 15,000 cases of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of adults over 60 across the state between 2017 and 2018.
The most compelling testimony came from Steve Piskor, who placed the hidden camera in his mother's room 10 years ago and caught the abuse on video that was used to successfully prosecute his mother's abusers.
"This is rampant abuse in nursing homes and it's got to be stopped," said Piskor.
Other testimony included remarks from registered nurse Sandra Ketterman, who told lawmakers, "I observed resident right violations occur daily" in other nursing facilities.
The proposed legislation would allow cameras inside the rooms of loved ones with their approval and the approval of a roommate, if present.
Signage would also be required noting that a camera is recording.
The legislation awaits two additional hearings before it can be sent to the full House for approval and be signed by the Governor.