Lawmaker: 'We are faking it' - Albuquerque Journal

Lawmaker: ‘We are faking it’

Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino sounds frustrated and weary.

He read the Journal’s five-part investigative series on problems within the state’s elder guardian system and observed that of the cases cited, there are “probably many, many dozens (more) that could explode at any time in this state and it’s because we are faking it. We pretend like we have a guardian system and there’s nothing in place.”

Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)
Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino, D-Albuquerque (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

It’s not for lack of trying, Ortiz y Pino told the Journal.

He recalls several times over the past decade that he and his colleagues have tried to propose legislative patches to the fraying system. They’ve tried to appropriate money to study ways to strengthen the system, to provide more oversight on how court appointees spend their elderly ward’s money, to set rules on visitation for children of wards when there is a dispute. Every time, Ortiz y Pino said, opponents of change win.

The senator put it bluntly: “Anytime we got into guardianship issues the attorneys who deal with probate in the state went ballistic.”

The biggest problem with the system? “I think you alluded to it in your articles,” he said. “It’s an honor system and there’s nobody checking.”

The senator, a social worker by occupation, believes the situation will get worse in the years ahead as the baby boomer generation ages.

“The problem is nobody is in charge,” he said. “So, there’s nobody to come before the Legislature to request a budget increase, nobody to say we need to improve regulations governing this. There’s nobody to set standards for the guardians (or) to hear complaints from the families.”

Ortiz y Pino believes there should be state certification and licensing of guardians and conservators but wonders where the money will come from. Likewise, his idea to set up special elder courts to exclusively hear guardianship and elder-issue cases would also need funding.

Because that money can only be approved by state lawmakers, the ball is in their court.

Home » From the newspaper » Lawmaker: ‘We are faking it’


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
'Contemporary Ex-Votos: Devotion Beyond Medium' explores the understudied iconographic ...
Arts
Opening on Sept. 30, at the ... Opening on Sept. 30, at the New Mexico State University Art Museum, 'Contemporary Ex-Votos: Devotion Beyond Medium' sheds light on this understudied
2
Former reporter pulls from personal experience in 'The Power ...
Arts
Elizabeth 'Digger' Doyle is the protagonist ... Elizabeth 'Digger' Doyle is the protagonist of Rosalie Rayburn's lively, crisply-written debut novel 'The Power of Rain.'
3
One-woman play 'Katie's Tales' debuts at Fusion's Cell Theatre
Arts
Fresh off a run at the ... Fresh off a run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Agnieszka Kazimierska's one-woman play debuts at Fusion's Cell Theatre on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.
4
A look at five pieces exploring the intersections of ...
Arts
Exhibit on view at the National ... Exhibit on view at the National Hispanic Cultural Center
5
ALT brings one-woman play 'The Belle of Amherst' back ...
Arts
The Albuquerque Little Theatre production 'The ... The Albuquerque Little Theatre production 'The Belle of Amherst' kicks off its two week run beginning at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30.
6
NMPhil announces rock and pop series
Arts
Rock and pop music fans can ... Rock and pop music fans can hear the music of the movies, flamenco fusion and a symphonic version of Genesis when the New Mexico ...
7
New concertmaster to make NMPhil debut Sept. 25
Arts
On Sunday, Sept. 25, Cármelo de ... On Sunday, Sept. 25, Cármelo de los Santos will give his first concert with the New Mexico Philharmonic at Immanuel Presbyterian Church, playing the ...
8
Now is the time to prep for moving citrus ...
Arts
It's time to start to monitoring ... It's time to start to monitoring your trees for any pests that could be congregated or hidden on the citrus.
9
Prep football: Cibola stays unbeaten with wild win over ...
Featured Sports
Should this count as one comeback ... Should this count as one comeback for the multiple personality Cibola Cougars, or two? Unbeaten Cibola (5-0) on Saturday afternoon not only trailed Los ...