— AARP is here to help you take on today – and every day. From sharing practical resources, to holding fun activities and events, AARP is providing opportunities to connect and help build an even stronger Texas for all ages to live, work and play. We hope you’ll join us!

— State Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) today filed Senate Bill 1212, which makes crucial improvements to nursing home safety sought by advocates for nursing home residents. AARP Texas Director Bob Jackson hailed the measure as a breakthrough toward improving nursing home safety. “Seniors and others residing in nursing homes have the right to expect quality care in a safe haven,” said Jackson. “The current system of nursing home oversight is full of gaping holes. Senator Hancock deserves praise for …

— State lawmakers have filed bills to help bring high-speed internet to rural Texas. Senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) and Reps. Charles “Doc” Anderson (R-Waco) and Four Price (R-Amarillo) have sponsored bills that seek to improve broadband access in areas of Texas that are currently underserved. Broadband refers to high-speed internet access that is always on and is faster than a dial-up connection. It includes technologies like Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) and cable modem. While broadband access is a problem in many …

— Patients who seek treatment at freestanding emergency rooms in Texas would gain new safeguards from surprise medical bills, under a measure filed today in the Legislature that’s supported by AARP Texas. State Rep. Tom Oliverson (R-Cypress) filed House Bill 2041 to better inform consumers about what fees they may incur and what their insurance will cover at freestanding emergency rooms. Specifically, a written “disclosure statement” – in both English and Spanish – would be provided to patients prior to treatment. …

— With thousands of Texans getting hit by surprise medical bills, eight organizations representing consumers, businesses, and health insurers have joined forces in support of legislative action to protect patients from unexpected and excessive health care costs. The leading organizations, including AARP Texas, have come together to advance five key principles to ensure that patients get the care they need at costs they can afford. “Too often, Texans are getting slammed with surprise, out-of-network bills due to no fault of their …

— With the scheduled end of the 2017 Texas legislative session approaching, AARP continues to fight for passage of several bills that aim to improve nursing home quality, ease the stress of family caregivers, protect older Texans from financial exploitation, and help consumers avoid and respond to surprise medical charges. Here’s a brief overview of some of the issues the AARP Texas team is working on at the state Capitol: Nursing Home Quality and Safety: Texans deserve quality care that ensures …

— Texas Appleseed and AARP today released five “Managing Someone Else’s Money” guides, a toolkit for financial caregivers in Texas who manage money or property for those unable to do so for themselves. This interactive series of guides, in English and Spanish, is available in print and online at www.ProtectTheirMoneyTx.org. Nearly 3.5 million unpaid family caregivers in Texas provide a great labor of love by helping their parents, spouses and others manage their financial affairs – but they often lack the …

— When state lawmakers convene next month for the 2017 legislative session, AARP Texas will pursue an agenda that includes strengthening nursing home quality, easing stress for family caregivers, helping millions of Texans save for retirement, and protecting seniors from financial exploitation. AARP’s non-partisan Texas legislative priorities also include a focus on eliminating surprise medical bills, and advocating for the age 50+ community to ensure that insurance costs are reasonable, coverage is reliable, and utility services are affordable and dependable. The …

— Charlene Hunter James, a long-time volunteer and community advocate in Houston, has been named AARP Texas state president. In collaboration with AARP Texas Director Bob Jackson, who announced James’ appointment, James will have the responsibility, starting Jan. 1, of leading the AARP Texas Executive Council for at least the next two years. She also will work with AARP staff and volunteers to establish strategic goals and objectives on a local level that are consistent with AARP’s national strategies. James, 64, …

— Texas is facing a dramatic rise in elderly abuse inside Texas nursing homes, according to a recent report by KVUE-TV in Austin. The report also said that despite millions of taxpayer dollars being spent to help run the facilities, the State of Texas is failing to hold nursing homes accountable for continued neglect. In addition, a segment of the five-part , KVUE-TV “State of Neglect” report focused on an increase in medication errors in Texas nursing homes and noted a …

— By Mark Hollis AARP Texas AUSTIN, Texas — If you’re Janee Briesemeister, the frequent flyer miles add up quickly. In nearly three decades of advocacy for American consumers, Alaska and Hawaii are the only states Briesemeister hasn’t visited for her work. An undisputed national expert on energy, telecommunications and other utility issues, Briesemeister is a well-traveled, Austin-based champion for a host of consumer causes like making utility bills easier to understand and home energy costs more affordable. The former radio …