One of AARP New Mexico’s main goals for the 2011 Legislative Session is ensuring that Medicaid has sufficient funding to maintain current levels of service
“Our number one goal for this session is to make sure that the state’s budget is not balanced at the expense of those that can least afford it,” said Michael Donnelly, AARP New Mexico’s State Associate Director of Advocacy. “We understand that these are hard economic times for everyone but for our most disadvantaged citizens losing a little can have an enormous impact.”
In addition to Medicaid, AARP New Mexico will also monitor any bills that have to do with funding for the elderly and disabled waiver and funds for the aging network as they make their way through the legislative process.
In addition to keeping the state Department of Aging and Long-Term Services as its own department and opposing any effort to reinstate the gross receipts tax on food, AARP will also be monitoring bills on ethics reform, mortgage protections, the implementation of new federal health care laws, propane regulations, water rights, behavioral health, and long-term care issues, among many others.
“Our volunteers work tirelessly during the session on a variety of issues,” Donnelly said. ”At times, we’re following as many as 500 different bills. The volunteers testify on legislation, meet with the legislators from their districts to make their feelings on a particular piece of legislation known. What makes this process so unique, it that unlike paid lobbyists, our volunteers are the very people these laws will impact and they spend their own time working for the benefit of their fellow New Mexicans.”
AARP New Mexico periodically surveys its members to determine what issues it follows and the direction on those issues. The state office also has a Legislative Committee, again made up of volunteers, which weigh in on legislation.
“We not only work on items that impact people age 50 plus but also on a variety of items that are beneficial to New Mexicans as a whole like omitting the gross receipts tax on food or the home loan protections,” Donnelly said.
For more information on AARP’s priorities as the Session continues visit the AARP New Mexico website and visit AARP New Mexico on Facebook and share your thoughts and concerns.