The longest legislative session in Georgia recorded history came to a close April 29 with mixed results for older Georgians. Through it all, AARP Georgia staff and volunteers were there – working to protect services that help unpaid family caregivers, fighting to stop the predatory lending practices that helped cause so many foreclosures and giving voice to countless 50+ residents of Georgia.
These are the issues AARP tackled and how the Georgia state legislature treated these issues during the 2010 legislative session.
AARP Fights to Help Seniors Age with Independence, Dignity. When Gov. Sonny Perdue proposed $1.7 million in cuts to services that help older Georgians remain out of the nursing home, AARP members responded with calls and emails. The legislature restored these cuts, and protected services such as Meals on Wheels, caregiver support such as respite care, in-home personal care and adult day care.
AARP Thwarts Efforts to Gut Consumer Protections in Health Policies. Two proposed bills that would have allowed out-of-state insurance companies to sell policies failed to get approved. While the bills were proposed as a way to make health care more affordable, in reality they would have undermined minimum standards that have long been guaranteed by Georgia law.
Bill to Reform Home Mortgages Practices, Prevent Foreclosures Falls Short. A bill introduced as a commonsense attempt to curb many of the abuses that led to Georgia’s high number of home foreclosures failed to make it into law. AARP Georgia will work to get a similar measure passed in the next legislative session.
Various Changes to Tax System to Impact Georgians and State Budget. AARP supported a new law that will require a regular accounting of tax breaks to bring more transparency and accountability into tax decisions. AARP opposed a new law that eliminates the refundable portion of the low-income tax credit. The credit, which ranges from $26 to $104 annually, is given to Georgians with incomes of $20,000 or less.
AARP Secures a Victory for Georgia Utility Ratepayers. AARP supported a new law that creates a new way to pay for experts hired by the Georgia Public Service Commission. These experts are hired to take a critical look at utility rate increase proposals. Under HB 1233, the PSC will hire the experts, and the cost of those experts will be charged to the utility requesting the rate adjustment.
Bill to Require Coordination of Transportation Services Passes. AARP supported a new law that establishes the Georgia Coordinating Council for Rural and Human Services Transportation. The bill encouraged efficient transportation service delivery in rural areas.
For more information about these issues, visit AARP Georgia’s online community.