For more than 50 years, AARP has been dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for all as we age. AARP pursues these goals through advocacy led by the state offices. Our advocacy agenda works to enable individuals 50+ get the most out of life. AARP Rhode Island has over 130,000 members. We are connected to more than 1,500 people on Facebook and reach tens of thousands via our integrated social media network and social media advertising campaigns. With your help, we can achieve the "real possiblities" that advocating that the State House offers.
HELPING PEOPLE STAY IN THEIR HOMES AND COMMUNITIES
- COMPLETE STREETS: We will continue working with other communities to add to the nine municipalities within Rhode Island that have passed Complete Streets resolutions. This effort is being propelled by the success of having a Complete Streets bill passed in the state legislature. Complete Streets design concepts include sidewalks, paved shoulders, lane striping, bicycle lanes, share the road signage, “road diets”, roundabouts, crosswalks, pedestrian control signalization, bus pull outs, curb cuts, raised crosswalks and ramps and traffic calming measures. Complete Streets design makes streets safe and convenient for people of all ages and abilities, whether travelling by car, foot, bicycle, or bus.
- TEMPORARY INCOME FOR FAMILY CAREGIVERS: A bill was introduced in the Senate (S0231) that provides Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) like coverage for caregivers who need to leave their jobs for a period to care for a family member. As a major priority AARP RI will join with the Older Women’s Policy Group to advocate strongly on this issue.
- CAREGIVER ASSESSMENT: Acting as a member of the Older Women’s Policy Group, AARP RI will advance a bill that addresses strengthening family caregiver support services by conducting a needs assessment for respite services and caregiver support programs. The House version (H5155) was heard by the House Health, Education and Welfare Committee and held for further study.
- RHODE ISLAND PUBLIC TRANSIT AUTHORITY (RIPTA) “HOW TO RIDE GUIDE”: We will continue our collaborative activities with RIPTA in distributing the “How to Ride Guides” to the senior population through informational presentations at the state’s senior centers.
- COMMUNITIES IN FOCUS: The West End neighborhood of Providence and the City of Newport are identified as the communities where we will work with elected officials and community/neighborhood organizations to improve the quality of life addressing such issues as making the community more livable with biking and walking and safer for people of all ages.
FIGHTING FOR BUDGET AND TAX FAIRNESS
- COMMUNITY SERVICES GRANTS: To promote a robust community aging services network such as senior centers, senior nutrition and wellness programs AARP RI as a member of the Senior Agenda Coalition will work with the legislative Finance Committees and the Governor’s office to enact adequate population-based funding. Bills were introduced (S0068 and H5217) putting this funding system in place.
IMPROVING HEALTH CARE QUALITY
- LIVING WELL RHODE ISLAND: We continue to actively support and are an integral part of the Living Well RI program that is modeled after the Stanford program. This program is centered on chronic disease management and has just been expanded to include arthritis management. In the coming year the program will be integrated with the state’s YMCAs that have been designated as the health centers of the future.
- LTCCC: As a member of the Long Term Care Coordinating Council, AARP participates in monthly working sessions and also sits on the Legislative Committee to review for support proposed legislation and budget concerns regarding LTC and general care of seniors in Rhode Island.
ACCESSING AFFORDABLE HEALTH COVERAGE
- HEALTHCARE EXCHANGE: As a member of the RI Health Benefits Exchange Workgroup, AARP has been participating in meetings focused on the design of the Exchange. We are also a member of the Essential Healthcare Benefits Workgroup that is charged with designing the minimum coverage offerings. A bill (H5556) was introduced into the House to establish the Healthcare Exchange legislatively. It had been established by Executive Order.
- MEDICAID EXPANSION: Per ACA Rhode Island decided to expand Medicaid to all nonelderly, childless adults below 138% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).
- MEDICARE PREMIUM SAVINGS ACT: Bills were introduced (S0269 and H5469) to expand the eligibility for the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) that pays part of or all of Medicare Part A and Part B premiums by increasing the maximum income eligibility from 135% to 185% of Federal Poverty Level and eliminate the asset limits.
PROTECTING OLDER AMERICANS AGAINST FRAUD AND FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION
- PAYDAY LENDING: Bills were re-introduced into the House (H5019) and Senate (S0260) that caps the rate of payday loans to 36% APR thus controlling this predatory loan practice that has been hurting some of the most vulnerable, particularly in the low income community. We are part of the RI Coalition for Payday Reform.
ENHANCING RETIREMENT SECURITY
- PENSIONS: We will continue to (1) monitor the implementation of the RI Retirement Security Act of 2011 with respect to the impact on current retirees, (2) follow the course of the various legal actions regarding this Act and prior legal suits, (3) examine the measures being taken on the local level that impact current retirees’ pensions.
FIGHTING FOR THE CONSUMER
- VOTER ID: With the enactment of a new Voter ID law in 2011, AARP continues to work with the Secretary of State to educate the public about the new law and to provide IDs to those that need them, particularly the elder population who may not have a driver’s license. We will continue to work with the Secretary’s office to facilitate the process, especially leading up to the full implementation of the law in 2014.