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AARP AARP States New Mexico

Paid Family Medical Leave Tops AARP Priorities for 2024 Session

AARP New Mexico’s top priority for the upcoming 2024 Legislative Session will be passing legislation that establishes paid family medical leave, but the state office will also focus on broadband expansion, lowering prescription drug costs and funding for senior programs, among others.

Government seal for the state of New Mexico
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“We understand that this Session, which begins Jan. 16, is only a 30-day Session, but we urge Gov. Lujan Grisham to include paid family medical leave on her call,” said Othiamba Umi, AARP New Mexico Associate State Director of Advocacy.

A 30-day Session, held every even year, is limited to financial items but can include other items determined by the governor, known at the Governor’s Call.

“We have been working on paid family medical leave for a couple of years now,” Umi said. “We want to ensure we get this done this year and remain committed to supporting family caregivers in this effort.”

“These are the people that take care of their older parents, spouses and other loved ones, to basically be able to live independently at their homes, which is where they really want to be,” he said.

AARP New Mexico has heard of a proposal that would provide paid medical leave only to parents taking care of a child.

“We want to make sure that there is an expanded definition that also includes family caregivers. Most family caregivers also hold down full-time jobs. Trying to balance work and caring for a loved one can be difficult with caregivers often having to choose between staying home with a loved one or earning a paycheck,” Umi said.

“Having paid family medical leave as an option allows family caregivers to take time off to care for loved one without fear of losing their pay,” he said.

Currently in New Mexico there are 270,000 family caregivers, providing 250 million hours of care. 

AARP New Mexico will also continue to support efforts to expand broadband and digital equity, meaning every person and community has the technology needed to participate in today’s society.

“AARP will look at legislation, that continues to invest in broadband, with an age friendly lens, to help combat social isolation, telehealth services and much more,” Umi said.

 Another area, AARP New Mexico will be looking at is lowering the cost of prescription drugs.

“We are looking at perhaps supporting a measure that will look at price transparency. We are working with Health Action New Mexico and other partners, on legislation that would require manufacturers to report information about drug costs and reasons for increasing their prices. Hopefully, that will help lower the costs or prescription drugs in our state,” Umi said.

Other priorities include:

Support increased funding for the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department

· AARP New Mexico supports adequate funding for the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department programs to address quality and safety in senior center long-term care, high priority services, food insecurity and transportation for seniors and their families across New Mexico.

Ending Elder Financial Abuse Legislation

· AARP New Mexico supports strong legal protections against financial exploitation and believes that our state should enact and implement a law that provides civil remedies for financial elder abuse.

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