Maine State House credit Amy Gallant

January 9, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact:      Jane Margesson, AARP Maine Communications Director

jmargesson@aarp.org or 207-229-5628

 

AARP Maine Releases 2018 Legislative Agenda

Continues Weekly “Tuesdays at the State House” for AARP Advocates

PORTLAND: As the 128th legislative session reconvenes, AARP Maine announces its 2018 Legislative Agenda which includes a focus on support for family caregivers, affordable housing, protection of home and community-based services, and equitable utility rates. Today, AARP Maine also kicked off “Tuesdays at the State House” for 2018 with over 50 member advocates in attendance.  Every Tuesday through April 17th, AARP Maine will be represented by engaged volunteers who attend hearings, greet legislators and deliver testimony before select committees during the session.

“On behalf of our more than 230,000 member statewide and our team of member advocates who will be in Augusta each week, AARP Maine looks forward to working with legislative leaders from both sides of the aisle in 2018,” said Lori Parham, AARP Maine State Director.  “It is critical that our legislators work together to address important issues that affect residents 50+ for the benefit of all Mainers.”

Throughout the session, AARP Maine will track bills that impact Mainers 50+ and share ongoing updates with their members statewide.

One of the priorities for AARP Maine in 2018 is the passage of a resolve to support unpaid family caregivers through proactive legislation.  As the nation’s oldest state, more needs to be done to support the 178,000 Mainers who are family caregivers. These caregivers help keep loved ones out of costly institutional care and prevent unnecessary hospitalizations, saving significant taxpayer dollars.  In Maine, the unpaid care these family caregivers provide is valued at approximately 2.2 billion dollars annually.

AARP Maine will also support a $50 million bond package to invest in home repair, weatherization, modification and new home construction for older and working Mainers.  Thousands of older Mainers continue to wait for homes that are safe, affordable, and accessible. Results of a November 2017 Critical Insights on Maine tracking survey found that 83 percent of voters polled support funding the development and weatherization of homes for seniors in Maine. Additionally, 88 percent of voters polled identified “access to housing that is affordable, weatherized and safe” as an important issue in upcoming elections.

The vast majority of 50+ Mainers want to age in their own homes and communities, and AARP Maine will continue to advocate on their behalf. According to the Critical Insights on Maine survey, nine out of ten Mainers believe services that make communities in the state more livable for people of all ages are important or very important.

AARP Maine will advocate for access to affordable, efficient long-term care services that promote consumer independence and choice.  We will closely monitor any proposed budget changes that could impact home and community-based services programs such as the Medicare Savings Program and Drugs for the Elderly, programs which are specifically designed to help low-income seniors and disabled adults.  Furthermore, AARP Maine will persist in our support efforts to ensure affordable and transparent prescription drug prices.

AARP Maine will also monitor changes to telecom and electric utility rates and services in the state to ensure prices remain fair and affordable.  This includes the proposed electricity rate increase by Emera Maine, and deregulation of Provider of Last Resort (POLR) phone service.

“The landline telephone service changes can be confusing,” said Parham. “AARP Maine will work to ensure that local residents have access to information about upcoming changes and what they will mean for them. Additionally, we want to be sure that Emera Maine customers are aware of the proposed increase to electricity rates and how they can voice their concern to the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

In addition, AARP Maine continues to support expansion of Broadband service throughout the state.  Broadband access is often necessary for the use of new technologies that improve the quality of life for people of all ages and help Mainers to age in place successfully. It is also critically important for small business owners and entrepreneurs.

“AARP Maine looks forward to working with Governor LePage and state lawmakers this session to ensure that Maine continues to be a place where people 50+ want to live, work and retire,” Parham said.

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About AARP

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the nation’s largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

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