AARP Connecticut has announced its 2015 legislative advocacy agenda of key issues critical to residents 50 and older. AARP priorities in 2015 will focus on policies that support family caregivers, allow individuals to remain independent at home, increase protections for utility consumers and enhance retirement security.
“With nearly 600,000 members in Connecticut, AARP is the state’s largest advocacy organization looking out for the interests of individuals age 50 and older – a responsibility we take very seriously,” said AARP State Director Nora Duncan. “In 2015, we plan to use the power of our collective voice to push for policies that help improve the lives of all Connecticut residents, and particularly those over age 50.”
AARP Connecticut’s 2015 legislative agenda includes:
Supporting Family Caregivers
Each year in Connecticut, more than 700,000 Connecticut residents provide unpaid care for their older loved ones as family caregivers—valued at about $5.8 billion annually. There are simple, yet profound, supports that can enhance caregivers’ quality of life and allow individuals needing care to continue to live independently in their homes and not in costly institutionalized settings. That’s why AARP will work with state lawmakers to:
• Enact the Caregiver, Advise, Record and Enable (CARE) Act to ensure that family caregivers are recognized in a hospital, know when their loved one will be discharged, and better understand the tasks expected of them when their loved one returns home;
• Reduce the financial burden of caregivers by offering caregiver tax credits;
• Strengthen power of attorney laws by adopting the Uniform Power of Attorney Act to prevent financial exploitation and elder abuse; and
• Adopt policies that promote workplace flexibility for caregivers, including paid family medical leave.
Helping People Stay in Their Own Homes and Communities
Research shows that the vast majority of individuals want to stay in their homes for as long as possible as they age. That’s why AARP believes that no one should be forced out of their home in order to receive the care or assistance they need.
AARP is calling on state lawmakers to improve the balance of funding for services provided in the home and community by redirecting spending, as appropriate, away from costly nursing home care and towards supports and services in the community. AARP’s advocacy will focus on:
• Encouraging the state to take advantage of federal financial incentives, such as Community First Choice, to improve access to home and community-based services;
• Developing strategies for nursing homes to shift their business models to accommodate local consumer preference and maximize consumer options to age in their own homes and communities.
Fighting for Consumer Savings
Expenditures on utilities are becoming a larger portion of the household budget for individuals age 50 and older. In 2015, AARP will push for legislation to protect and expand consumer protections for ratepayers who choose to participate in the deregulated third party electric supply market. This will include:
• Seeking the elimination of variable rate contracts with third party suppliers.
• Opposing, through legislation and/or regulation, any increase in fixed electric charges, as well as increases in other charges that are not directly related to electric supply or delivery.
• Defending against legislation that would deregulate landline telephone services in the state, or preemptively deregulate VOIP telephone services provided by telephone or cable providers.
Enhancing Financial and Retirement Security
AARP will promote and advance the work of the CT Retirement Security Board created by the Connecticut General Assembly in 2014. This Board is charged with developing a work place payroll deduction savings plan for employees who work for companies with five or more employees and have no current payroll savings option. This will include ensuring the Board has the resources needed to complete their mission. We also will work on legislation to protect the assets of community spouses whose significant other is receiving long term care.
If you would like to learn more about volunteer opportunities to help AARP fight on issues like those above that matter to you and your family, please contact Elaine Werner by calling toll-free 1-866-295-7279 or send an email to email@example.com with the subject line "Interest in Volunteering".