This bill would expand the felony crime of taking advantage of a vulnerable person to the infliction of severe mental anguish.

HB 1075, authored by Rep. Crawford, would amend the current code section to ensure that the crime for individuals found guilty of causing mental anguish to a vulnerable person, like the elderly or someone with special needs, would be a felony.

The bill reads:

Any person who willfully inflicts physical pain * * *, injury or severe mental anguish upon a vulnerable person, or causes the mouth or nose of any vulnerable person to be obstructed  in a manner that causes mental anguish shall be guilty of felonious abuse or battery, or both, of a vulnerable person and, upon conviction thereof, may be punished by imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for not more than twenty (20) years.

The bill was passed in the House and transmitted to the Senate and if passed there will take effect on July 1, 2019.