These are among the bills AARP Rhode Island is supporting as the General Assembly winds down. Thanks to hard, steady efforts by our State House volunteers, lawmakers understand the positive outcomes these proposals can provide. We are there for you.
Increase Respite Care Funding from $140,00 to $325,000 S-0438 (Felag) H-8385 (Casimiro)
PASSED Restores the respite care budget to a previous level. Caregiving can be a 24/7 job for unpaid family caregivers. Although caregiving is rewarding it can also be stressful. These funds help family caregivers arrange for a break such as bringing someone into the home, arranging for a loved one to go to day care or even placing a loved one in an overnight facility. There is no longer a waiting list.
Guardianship – National Criminal Background Check S-0845 (Coyne)
PASSED Requires a National Criminal Background check for limited guardians and guardians. As highlighted in the recent Providence Journal nine-part special report guardianship abuse poses a threat to many in our state. The threat is compounded when a guardian lives in another state. A state BCI does not reveal any criminal convictions in other states.
Family Caregiver Support Act S-0294 (Goodwin) H-5687 (Casimiro)
PASSED AARP successfully pushed for passage of the Family Caregiver Support Act in 2013. The intent of this legislation is to seek significant improvements in caregiver support including requiring a comprehensive caregiver assessment be conducted for a person seeking Medicaid long term care supports and services at home. The assessment is to assure that the right tools are provided for successful caregiving. This legislation would provide for more transparency to assure assessments are conducted and calls for EOHHS to develop annual reports on the number of caregiver assessments done.
Supported Decision Making S-31 (Satchell) H- 5909 (Craven)
PASSED This bill establishes Supported Decision Making, a less-restrictive alternative to guardianship that could be utilized to help people maintain their independence by assisting them in making choices. Supported Decision Making agreements are for people that can make their own decisions but may need a supporter to gather information on their behalf. One example would be a person with early stage Alzheimer’s who can make his/her own decisions, but may need assistance.
Accessory Family Dwelling Units S-0691A (Lombardi) H-6219 (Shanley)
This legislation expands the eligibility for Accessory Family Dwelling Units by broadening the definition of family member but the original legislation also removed the automatic exemption for age 62 + that we had placed in the law a few years earlier. We supported the expanded definition but asked for and obtained a revision that placed age 62+ back in to the law to assure the broadest interpretation of eligibility.
Student Loan Bill of Rights – S-0737A (Euer) H-5936A (McNamara)
More than 133,000 Rhode Islanders, including 16,000 senior citizens, have a combined $4.5 billion in student loan debt. We supported this legislation submitted by the General Treasurer that establishes guidelines for regulatory receipt and review of complaints by student loan borrowers and sets forth duties and responsibilities of student loan servicers.
Want to become an AARP State House volunteer? Contact Advocacy Director John DiTomasso.