AARP Kentucky’s state advocacy efforts in Frankfort focused much of its work on state funding for those services assisting older Kentuckians live in their own homes longer. Staff and volunteers worked overtime as the General Assembly completed its regular session without passing a state budget and followed by an additional special “Extraordinary” session in late May.
The General Assembly began its Regular Session January 5 and lawmakers left Frankfort on April 15 leaving behind a $1.5 billion dollar gap in an unfinished $17.5 billion dollar state budget. Without a new state budget, state government faced a shut-down of vital services on July 1. Left hanging in the balance (among many budget issues) was funding for the Medicaid program and the Department for Aging and Independent Living.
Governor Steve Beshear called lawmakers back to Frankfort for the Special Session in late May to finish the job of passing a new state budget before the end of the state fiscal year June 30. AARP mobilized its grassroots supporters in response asking them to send a message to Frankfort calling for an exemption to more cuts to aging services and pass a budget that keeps the Department for Aging and Independent Living (DAIL) strong to meet the needs of all generations.
Lawmakers adjourned the special session just before the Memorial Day Holiday passing the two year state spending plan. While maintaining funding for some priorities like elementary and secondary education, the budget cuts funding for most state agencies by 3.5 percent the first year and another 1 percent the second year. AARP Kentucky staff is continuing to work and determine how DAIL will be impacted by the budget.
AARP 2010 Key Priorities – Now Law
New state laws supported by AARP passed in the Regular Session will deliver new options and protections for consumers.
House Bill 444 allows assisted living facilities staff to provide limited assistance with medications, such as opening a pill bottle for a resident or arranging their weekly doses of medications. The new law improves basic care options for residents which help to delay or prevent moving into long-term care facilities.
The law makes a simple change that could have a large impact. Previously, state law had forced some elderly residents to move out of assisted living communities into nursing homes even though they only needed limited assistance with medications. The state is working to prepare and release administrative regulations providing guidance to consumers, assisted living facilities and staff.
House Bill 166 will now help consumers with fair and stronger laws protecting their personal information, rights and responsibilities while managing their debt, securing their credit and now authorizes legal action under Kentucky’s Consumer Protection Act by the Attorney General. Additionally, requires debt-adjusting companies to be registered and have written, signed contracts with consumers.
Other 2010 Key Priorities
House Bill 520 failed to pass but would have created a new state registry to track persons determined to have committed abuses or exploited adult citizens and prohibit future access to vulnerable persons.
House Bill 86 sought to provide state judges a unified framework across statelines to communicate and better deal with Alzheimer’s and Adult Guardian cases.
House Bill 381 would have limited payday and quick cash type loans to a 36% interest. The high cost of these loans will likely continue to create economic damage to working families and their communities.
Staying Connected – Learn how you can get involved and find more on AARP Kentucky’s state advocacy efforts online at aarp.org/ky or facebook.com/AARPKentucky.
Kentucky General Assembly Legislative website