In a rare showing of complete bipartisanship, a bill that would allow families to monitor activities inside loved ones’ nursing home rooms with cameras and other electronic equipment, passed through the Ohio Legislature unanimously.

Senate Bill 58, known as Esther’s Law, has been in the works since 2011, when an activist named Steven Piskor used a hidden camera to catch employees at a nursing home facility run by MetroHealth Medical Center abusing his mother, Esther.

Since then, Piskor has been fighting for the passage of a law that would legally allow all families in Ohio, and elsewhere, to monitor the goings on in the nursing homes of their loved ones.

This week, his work was realized when Esther’s Law unanimously passed the Ohio House of Representatives. The bill passed the Ohio Senate unanimously in October.

Piskor celebrated when the bill passed the House.

“Esther’s Law is coming to Ohio,” he said. “This groundbreaking legislation is Ohio’s first for stopping abuse. It will allow residents to put a camera in their nursing home room. Families will be able to monitor their daily care.”

It will now head to Republican Gov. Mike DeWine’s desk to be signed into law or vetoed.

“Anybody’s that’s walked the path with their own parents as they age understand the need for special protection as people get older,” State Sen. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood), a co-sponsor of the bill, said upon its introduction in 2019. “Not only is it important today, it’s going to be important tomorrow.”

There would only be two requirements for families and guardians to monitor the nursing home rooms of their loved ones if the bill is signed into law.

They would be required to fill out a form disclosing to the nursing home that they are monitoring the room, and pay for the surveillance equipment themselves.

Illinois, Kansas and Minnesota all have their own versions of Esther’s Law.

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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to dabroscareports@gmail.com.
Photo “Retirement Home” by Etan J. Tal. CC BY 3.0.