Family members or friends will be able to keep an eye on their loved ones who live in nursing homes by watching them on surveillance cameras, under a new law that is nearing final passage in the Louisiana Legislature.
The so-called "Granny Cam bill," passed the Senate on Wednesday with no opposition. The measure, which was strongly opposed by the powerful nursing home industry, has sailed through both the House floor and three legislative committees with almost unanimous support, with the exception of a single no vote by a House committee member who later recanted his opposition.
House Bill 281 was originally sponsored by former New Orleans Rep. Helena Moreno, but when she stepped down mid-way through the session to take her seat with the New Orleans City Council, she handed the reins over to Rep. Kirk Talbot, R-River Ridge.
Moreno has argued that the cameras give people piece of mind that their loved ones are being well-cared in nursing homes. They also give nursing homes the protections they need in the event staff members are wrongfully accused of poor care.
While support for the bill has been generally widespread among legislators, there has been some friction over proposed amendments that address how the cameras can operate and how much access the cameras would have.
Nursing home industry leaders requested an amendment earlier in the legislative process that would have prevented the cameras from connecting to the internet and streaming the feeds in real time, citing concerns about cyber security and resident privacy.
Talbot said that concern was resolved because he agreed to an amendment that would prevent the cameras from tapping into the nursing home's computer network and would instead run from it's own separate internet connection, paid for by the resident.