Gov. Mark Dayton and lawmakers are proposing major changes to the state’s oversight of Minnesota’s senior care facilities.

Widespread abuse and neglect of seniors and the state’s lax oversight have made it a top priority for lawmakers this year. An audit released last week found “deep and pervasive failures” in the state agency that handles complaints. It revealed reports of abused had increased 50 percent in five years.

Dayton and several lawmakers introduced unveiled legislation Tuesday that would streamline reports of abuse, boost licensing requirements for assisted living and dementia care facilities and create stricter penalties for employees who threaten or abuse seniors in their care.

Dayton says it’s a top priority for his final year in office. He’s seeking nearly $15 million to make the needed improvements.