During the regular 2012 Legislative Session, which ended on May 9, 2012, AARP staff and volunteers were busy advocating for legislation that helps Connecticut residents stay healthy, remain independent as they age, lower their energy bills and more.
See Also: Caregiving Tops AARP CT Agenda in 2012
Below are some highlights of our successes. Be sure to check out the AARP CT Blog for status updates related to the Special Legislative Session that took place on June 12 and additional information on these and other important issues that affect Connecticut’s older residents.
Supporting Caregivers and Expanding Home Care Options
AARP staff and volunteers were successful in convincing the General Assembly to restore funding for the Alzheimer’s Respite Care Program in the final State Budget for 2012/13. $229,000 in Alzheimer’s Respite Care was added back to the budget to provide short-term relief to family caregivers who support a loved one with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia in the community. Under the program, family caregivers are eligible for financial grants to help pay for services such as adult day care, in-home care and short-term inpatient respite care. The final budget package provides full funding for the current caseload without cutting services.
As a result of AARP’s advocacy, the General Assembly also approved adding $600,000 back to the Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders. The funding is expected to help expand home care services and supports for older adults and people with disabilities.
Another highlight of the 2012 Session was the passage of legislation establishing the Community Choices program, a statewide Aging and Disability Resource Center that will serve as a one-stop shop for consumers and family caregivers looking for information and resources to help them and their loved ones needing long-term care.
Finally, the General Assembly enacted the Uniform Adult Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act, HB 5150, which establishes the apparatus for Connecticut probate courts to interact with courts in different states about conservatorship decisions. AARP CT advocated in favor of the legislation, which can reduce incidence of elder abuse by: permitting a court to consider which jurisdiction can best protect a person subject to abuse; facilitating communication between courts in different states about allegations of abuse; and transferring cases between states to remove individuals from abusive situations (signed by Governor).
Lowering Energy Costs
AARP Connecticut continued to fight to lower electric rates for residents, protect traditional landline telephone service and assure that utilities are held accountable for their performance in restoring power after a major storm.
AARP successfully advocated for SB 23 that would hold utility companies accountable for poor performance in restoring electricity to consumers after a major storm and provide credits to consumers on their electric bills. The Legislation was proposed in response to 2011’s August and October storms and subsequent extended power outages. AARP supported provisions that would allow DPUC to fine utility companies for failing to meet minimum storm response standards and require the companies to issue credits to consumers on their electric bills. The Legislation would require appropriate advanced planning by utilities and prevent them from passing on any subsequent fines to ratepayers.
AARP also helped defeat legislation, SB 447, that would have deregulated telephone service in Connecticut and made it easier for companies to drop landline service in certain areas of the state, as well as prevent the State from regulating new technologies, such as Voice over Internet Protocols (Skype, etc.).
AARP fought during 2011 to protect Social Security and Medicare from proposed cuts to reduce the federal deficit. In March 2012, we launched You’ve Earned a Say www.earnedasay.org, a national conversation about the future of Medicare and Social Security, and held community forums in Hartford, Bridgeport, Stamford, Norwich, Danbury and Wallingford, where local residents shared their thoughts and opinions about how to strengthen these important programs for the future. Additional community conversations will be held over the next several months and the results of AARP listening sessions and questionnaires will be shared with Congressional and Presidential candidates leading up to the November elections.
Learn more and make your voice heard.
Check out the Latest News headlines at the top of our webpage for the most up-to-date information on these and other legislative and budget-related issues.
Join the fight
If you’d like to learn more about any of the issues we are working on in 2012 or are interested in becoming a volunteer with AARP Connecticut, please call us toll-free at 1-866-295-7279 or send an email to email@example.com.
Other ways to get involved: