Delaware’s Legislature is in session from January to June each year. AARP makes our members voices heard during this time, as we support bills and laws that make life better for people age 50 and over. 2021 was a year filled with wins for AARP, its members and friends. With the help of our outstanding advocacy volunteers, we supported and helped pass a variety of bills that will benefit Delawareans for years to come. Take a look:
- Delaware legislators allotted $10 million in the 2022 state budget to fund start-up costs for the Healthy Delaware Families Act (SB 1 - a Paid Family and Medical Leave program). AARP worked with Senator McBride to ensure that the legislation included caregivers of all ages. AARP’s Vital Voices Survey showed 84% of Delawareans support requiring employers to provide paid family leave for caregivers. (see attached for other data). The bill is expected to pass in 2022.
- AARP volunteer, Wendell Alfred, is representing AARP Delaware on an Aging-in-Place Work Group, created by legislation in 2021 and headed by State Sen. Spiros Mantzavinos. The group will meet throughout the fall and winter months, and will deliver recommendations to the General Assembly by 3/30/22.
- HB 18 Complete Community Enterprise Districts/Transit Oriented Development – when DE first passed a CCED law 4 years ago, AARP was a strong supporter of the plan to use zoning laws to allow walkable, bike-able communities, with residences near shopping and workplaces and a range of transportation options. Four years later, no Delaware communities have jumped on board to take advantage of the opportunity, due to some requirements in the law. HB 18 eases restrictions and makes the law more workable.
- HB 91 was an update to Delaware’s Consumer Fraud Act. It provides improved protections for consumers and businesses. It also clarifies that those who provide goods and services at no charge to consumers—like social media companies funded by ad revenue—can be held liable for engaging in consumer fraud.
- HB 141 updated Delaware’s Scope of Practice for Nurse Practitioners, removing the requirement for them to have a business contract (a “collaborative agreement”) with a physician. Other states which have made this change have seen improvements in quality and access to care.
- HB 21 makes Delaware a part of the Multi-State APRN Compact, so that Advanced Practice Nurses who are licensed in one compact-member state can practice in any member state. This portability of licensure was very helpful in filling needs during the COVID Pandemic, and many states are making such changes permanent.
Moving forward into 2022, we will continue to advocate for issues that will help Delawareans age with dignity and independence. If you want to become an activist with AARP and volunteer in the legislative arena, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.