— TALLAHASSEE — In recognition of their work during the 2017 Florida Legislative Session in protecting Florida’s most vulnerable residents, state Sen. Kathleen Passidomo (R – Naples) and state Rep. Ben Diamond (D – St. Petersburg) were presented with the AARP Florida Legislative Achievement Award The legislators authored Senate Bill 172 and House Bill 399, which ensures that additional safeguards are implemented to protect vulnerable adults in Florida’s guardianship process. Gov. Rick Scott signed the legislation into law on May 9, …

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— AARP Florida Director Jeff Johnson warned hundreds of thousands of older Floridians Wednesday that they could lose thousands of dollars in income-tax deductions next year if Congress moves ahead with a U.S. House plan to impose a “health tax.” A House tax plan adopted last month would eliminate a current feature of tax law that allows Americans to deduct some of the cost of high medical expenses from their taxable income. As of 2017, taxpayers can deduct qualified medical expenses …

— By Tom Scherberger Three months after Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc on the state and led to the deaths of 14 South Florida nursing home residents, AARP is gearing up for a legislative session it hopes will address the problems older people face during a disaster. “It’s tragic that it took the loss of a more than a dozen lives to discover where our system was failing older Floridians, and it would be a travesty if we, as a state, do …

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— Fellow Floridians – This year was a busy one for us when it came to utilities advocacy. We had some hard-fought battles – some we won, some we lost. Here’s a recap of our 2017 utilities activities: We successfully lobbied against SB 1238/HB 1043, which would have allowed investor-owned utilities (Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy, TECO & Gulf Power) to charge ratepayers millions in advance fees to frack for natural gas out of state. For Florida consumers who get …

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— Whew! The worst of the 2017 hurricane season is past us. That’s the good news. But the 2018 season is coming up. The off-season period – from the end of November to June 1 – is the best time to prepare your home for a hurricane. You have time to get ready, and supplies and equipment are less costly than when the demand is higher. So what exactly should you do?: Create your team. Identify those close to you (neighbor, …

5 States

— St. Petersburg, Fla. – AARP Florida State Director Jeff Johnson will share AARP Florida’s battle to protect frail older people in the state’s next disaster during a Facebook Live Event at 6:30 pm Nov. 8. As Florida lawmakers gear up for the Jan. 8 start of the 2018 legislative session, a top issue is elder safety in disaster. AARP is fighting to toughen provisions in state law protecting older people during natural disasters, including requiring nursing homes and assisted-living facilities …

5 States

— TALLAHASSEE, FLA. — AARP Florida State Director Jeff Johnson issued the following statement commending Duke Energy Florida for stepping back from the consumer-unfriendly practice of utility advanced-cost recovery as part of a settlement agreement now under consideration by the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC). “Today the Florida Public Service Commission took up a proposed settlement agreement for Duke Energy Florida that, on the whole, shows potential for Florida consumers,” Johnson said. “It’s high time that utility companies began to step …

5 States

— FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017 CONTACT:  Dave Bruns, 850.577.5161 dbruns@aarp.org Tallahassee, Fla. — AARP Florida, with 2.8 million members in the Sunshine State, has asked the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) to place a proposed constitutional ban on utility-company advance cost recovery initiatives before Florida voters in the 2018 election. Once every 20 years, the CRC is allowed to place proposed constitutional amendments on the statewide ballot for voters’ consideration. Now, AARP is calling upon Floridians to join the …

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— By Jeff Johnson (This op-ed originally appeared in the Sept. 16 issue of the Sun Sentinel) Still struggling with Irma’s aftermath, Floridians were stunned by news Wednesday that eight frail elders died from heat-related causes after a Hollywood, Fla., nursing home lost its air conditioning.  A hospital with functioning air conditioning was across the street. A criminal investigation is now under way into the deaths at the Rehabilitation Center of Hollywood Hills, but initial reports seem to indicate that miscommunication …

5 States

— The 2017 hurricane season has been tough for all Floridians – and it’s not over yet. For Floridians age 50-plus, for family caregivers and for Florida communities, there have been challenges to overcome from Key West to Fernandina Beach, and just about everywhere in between. For most Floridians, Hurricane Irma is a bad memory. The power is back on in most cities and towns, flooding has subsided and cleanup of storm debris is under way or even partly complete. But …