Welcome to our new weekly feature. I'm calling it "What's up Springfield" - The Non-Wonk Edition. This weekly blog post will highlight and recap legislative issues the AARP Illinois team is working on...in "real" language. In other words....
If you're like me, you really want to be a well informed citizen of Illinois and hear about issues that may impact you - and you definitely want to know if your legislators are up to good or no good - but you absolutely glaze over at the thought of reading legislation. Well, you've come to the right place. Want to go deeper on any of the issues we discuss? Shoot an email to the staff lead listed and they'll be happy to get into the weeds, talk about bill numbers, and satisfy all of your "policy wonk" needs!
Long Term Care - Issue Lead Dave
Who it helps: This bill provides for better training for family caregivers, so they are better able to care for their loved ones when they return home from the hospital. It allows medical records to include the name of a patient's primary family caregiver, so that hospitals know to talk to that person, keep them in the loop, and make sure they are trained and up to speed on all necessary follow up care needed upon discharge. A considerable number of family caregivers who provide medical care at home for their loved ones simply feel unprepared to perform medical tasks.
--A Long Term Care Disparity Bill
Who it helps: This bill establishes a task force to examine whether there are differences in quality of care and access to care in Illinois' Long Term Care System based on a number of factors including rural vs. urban, dominant race/ethnicity, dominant language. This legislation builds upon a previous study of racial disparities found in Chicago nursing homes.
--FMLA Expansion to Grandparents and Grandchildren
Who it helps: This bill would allow grandparents who are caring for grandchildren as well as grandchildren who are caring for grandparents to be eligible for FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) benefits - a law which allows workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off of work to care for a family member - without the risk of losing their job. Previously, grandparents and grandchildren were not specifically protected by FMLA in Illinois. AARP is partnering with the Aging Justice Program of Chicago on this work.
Financial Security - Issue Lead Laurinda
--Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program (SB2758)
What it does: This bill would provide all private-sector workers in Illinois who do not currently have access to a retirement savings option at work, with employment-based access to a retirement savings account (an IRA). Employees of businesses who have been in business for at least two years and have at least 10 employees would be automatically enrolled to a retirement savings plan (but could opt out at any time).
That's it for this week! Stay Warm!