“Complete Streets,” enhancing retirement security and financial exploitation protections among session goals
CHARLESTON – AARP West Virginia is focusing on state legislative action in the areas of community development, retirement security, financial exploitation issues, and home energy affordability during the 2013 WV Legislative session.
AARP West Virginia staff and volunteers are maintaining a very active presence at the State Capitol throughout the 60-day session, working on behalf of nearly 300,000 members across the Mountain State. AARP is working closely with state leaders on the passage of legislation impacting West Virginians 50-plus, which includes:
- Adoption of “Complete Streets” legislation: AARP supports “Complete Streets” legislation that formally adopts state policies that promote effective transportation planning, coordination and community development. “Complete Streets” is a transportation development concept that incorporates features in transportation design and planning that enhance safety, mobility and accessibility for all transportation users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and public transportation users. During the past decade, nearly 300 pedestrians and cyclists have died on West Virginia roadways as a result of injuries sustained in motor-vehicle related traffic accidents, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Between 2000 and 2006, the total human capital costs associated with these types of motor vehicle accidents on West Virginia roadways was approximately $565 million ($80.7 million per year), based on a West Virginia University study that determined costs borne by individuals and corporations in medical costs, emergency services, property damage and lost productivity.
- Helping People Stay in Their Own Homes and Communities: AARP supports efforts to take advantage of new and existing opportunities to improve access to Home and Community Based Services (HCBS); and to protect and expand the Medicaid Aged and Disabled Waiver (ADW) program, State respite funding for the Family Alzheimer’s In-Home Respite (FAIR) program, and the Lighthouse program.
- Protecting Older West Virginians Against Fraud and Financial Exploitation: Working with the West Virginia Financial Exploitation Task Force, AARP supports state laws that strengthen protections against fraud, deception, and unfair practices; and equip consumers with the tools needed to make informed choices and to protect themselves.
- Enhancing Retirement Security: AARP supports efforts by the West Virginia Association of Retired School Employees (WVARSE) to protect retirees from reduction or elimination of promised benefits, preserve access to defined benefit plans and cost of living adjustments, and limit taxation of retirement income.
“For more than 50 years, AARP has been dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for all as we age. We’re actively engaging our members for their input on the issues that are most important to them, and our advocacy agenda for this session reflects the feedback we’ve received from West Virginians 50-plus,” said Gaylene Miller, AARP West Virginia state director.
Older West Virginians want to remain in their homes and communities for as long as possible, and many of the issues AARP is focusing on this legislative session address home and community issues important to those 50-plus.
“Livable communities provide safety and security for individuals who wish to remain in their homes and communities as they age. Complete Streets policy represents a mindset that encourages common sense planning for new infrastructure development, where state transportation planners would consider all transportation users as they relate to the unique transportation needs of growing communities in the Mountain State,” said Randy Myers, AARP West Virginia state president.
Home energy affordability continues to be a major issue for low- to moderate-income West Virginians of all ages. AARP West Virginia has heard from thousands of the state’s utility customers about the challenges they’re facing in paying their monthly bills.
“There are many challenges that lie ahead for West Virginia utility ratepayers. Billion dollar acquisition deals associated with electric generating capacity and a focus on improved reliability in the wake of last year’s severe storms would likely result in higher future costs for state ratepayers. Additionally, thousands of West Virginians could face a significant increase in water rates by the end of 2013,” said Miller. “For thousands of older West Virginians, many of whom live on fixed incomes, any increase in home energy costs has a significant impact. We remain focused on these important pocket-book issues and the potential impact any rate increases would have on West Virginia families.”
AARP WV Media Contact: Tom Hunter , 304.340.4605 , firstname.lastname@example.org