Utah state bill would allow in-room resident monitoring

A Utah state representative is reigniting a discussion about how to keep residents safe while respecting their privacy.

Rep. Timothy Hawkes, R-Centerville, is sponsoring a bill that would allow residents of assisted living facilities to install monitoring equipment in their rooms.

“Its primary value, to be honest, is deterrence,” says Hawkes to Desert News. “If you’re a criminal that’s victimizing elderly people, and you see a sign that says you can be monitored and recorded, I think you’re probably going to walk on by.”

House Bill 124, first introduced in 2014, would allow residents of assisted living facilities, or their loved ones, to install camera, microphones or other monitoring devices in the room. The proposed bill requires the facility to be notified in advance and for any roommates to give written consent. The facility could require residents to notify visitors before entering the room.

Electronic monitoring has gained attention in recent years because of growing concerns about abuse and theft in long-term care facilities. Texas, New Mexico, Washington and Oklahoma allow electronic monitoring.

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