Sheri Caton, Chair of the Office of Public Guardianship Commission, and Hugh Wilson, Budget Manager for the Judicial Branch, appeared before the committee in accordance with SMART Act and Joint Rule 25. Ms. Caton discussed the pilot program and distributed a fact sheet about it (Attachment J). She reported that the pilot program, which is intended to provide legal guardianship services to indigent and incapacitated adults, is contingent upon gifts, grants, and donations. Insufficient funds have been collected thus far to start the program. Ms. Caton explained the budget request for General Fund moneys.
Committee members asked questions about potential cost savings of the program and what is being done in other states. Discussion followed about using volunteers to fulfill the public guardianship duties. Mr. Wilson further explained the budget request, and Ms. Caton said legislative changes are also requested to change the timeline of the pilot program. Ms. Caton explained the fund-raising impediments.