Monday, February 26, 2018

Advocacy Update - February 26

State Advocacy

HB 236 - Reauthorization of Senior Benefits Program.  This bill awaits its hearing in the Senate Finance Committee.  AARP Alaska supports reauthorization, and has also requested the Finance Committee consider increasing the fiscal note to restore funding for the $125/month benefit level.  This level was reduced two years ago to $76/month, and we are concerned it will erode further with the current fiscal note attached to the bill.

SB 63 - Statewide Smokefree Workplace.  This bill continues to await a hearing in the House Rules Committee.  Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, the committee chair, has been a vocal opposition to this bill and continues to hold it up.  It would most surely pass a vote of the full House, as there is overwhelming support across Alaska for smoke-free workplaces....like Anchorage, Juneau, Bethel, and many other communities already have.

HB 336 - Supported Decision Making Agreements.  More easily referred to as SDMA's, this is a cutting edge concept that provides a person-centered alternative to guardianship for vulnerable adults.  It creates a formal legal agreement among the principal (vulnerable adult) and his/her chosen "supporters" who will provide counsel and support in making important decisions.  HB 336, introduced by Rep. Charisse Millett, will have its first hearing next Thursday, March 1, in the House Health and Social Services Committee.

Other bills to note that AARP Alaska is considering for support:

AARP Alaska will be in Juneau with 20 volunteers Monday-Wednesday, Feb. 26-28, for the annual Legislative Fly-In


What We're Reading:
Workers age 50+ more likely to work part-time


Monday, February 19, 2018

Weekly Advocacy Update

State Legislation
  • Smoke Free Workplaces (SB 63). AARP Alaska supports the right of Alaskans to breathe smoke-free air at work and in public spaces. SB 63 is waiting for a hearing in the House Rules committee. No action necessary at this time.
  • Senior Benefits (HB 236). AARP Alaska supports reauthorization through 2024 of the Senior Benefits program that provides monthly cash assistance to low-income Alaskans over age 65. HB 236 awaits a hearing in the Senate Finance committee.  No action necessary at this time.
  • Supported Decision Making Agreements (HB 336).  AARP Alaska supports this cutting-edge alternative to guardianship for vulnerable adults.  Rather than the court assigning the rights of an adult with an intellectual disability to a court-appointed guardian, the individual would have the opportunity to name a group of known "supporters" to guide or counsel the individual's own decisions. This bill would create a legal document, the Agreement, that would be legally recognized by the courts, banks, businesses, health care providers, etc.   HB 336 awaits its first hearing in the House Health and Social Services committee.  No action necessary at this time.
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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Anchorage ABCs of Caregiving Classes

AARP Alaska is pleased to promote two classes being offered by Alzheimer's Resource of Alaska. All classes held at their Anchorage office,1750 Abbott Road.

Decision Making
Monday, February 12th, 10:00-11:30am & 5:30-7:00pm

Making decisions for ourselves can sometimes be difficult; however, making decisions for a loved one who has dementia can be emotional and overwhelming. Join us to learn not only the legal tools but a process that may assist when we are faced with making decisions for our loved ones. Contact: Jane Haiar - (907) 561-3313 or jhaiar@alzalaska.org

Beneficial Reminiscing
Monday, February 19th, 10:00-11:30am & 5:30-7:00pm

This ABC will provide tools and suggestions to enhance your reminiscing journey. Have you witnessed the emotions, listened to the details of the story? Even if you have heard the story before, it is important for you to be an attentive listener, because reminiscing serves a purpose in older adulthood. The stories of the past offer a source of affirmation, hope, and belief that their legacy will be preserved. Assisted recollection and reflection helps reinforce identity: who you are, where you've been and how you got to today. For more information contact: Debbie Chulick- (907) 561-3313 or dchulick@alzalaska.org

Monday, February 12, 2018

Weekly Advocacy Update

Federal Advocacy
  • On the Federal front, Congress passed its very large budget deal that included a number of items that are important to AARP and health care.  The bill permanently repealed the Medicare therapy caps which will be a big relief to millions of older people who require extensive physical or occupational therapies.  The bill also funds the Community Health Centers for two more years (Alaska depends on these centers for much of the primary care delivered in the state, especially rural areas), extends the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), provides funds for the Medicare Information Office, and accelerates the closing of the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug program’s “doughnut hole” to 2019.  

State Advocacy
  • Last week had lots of action on HB 236, the Senior Benefits Bill.  In less than two days, it passed out of House Health and Social Services Committee, was heard and passed out of House Finance Committee, and passed its floor vote in the full House.  The bill now moves to the Senate where it will be heard in the Senate Finance Committee and then the full Senate.  This bill is very important to more than 11,000 low income older Alaskans who depend on the modest cash benefits each month to pay for necessities like food, heat and medicine.  You can help move the bill by contacting members of the Senate Finance Committee and urging a yes vote. 

Local Advocacy
  • AARP's Tax Aide provides free tax preparation for low-income Alaskans. Sites open statewide - find a site near you.

What We're Watching
  • Listen to Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) talk with AARP South Dakota State Director and State President about autonomous vehicles and how they might make things better for older people.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Learn More About Imposter Scams

AARP Live takes a closer look at imposter scams tomorrow, February 8, at 10 p.m. ET. Watch on RFD-TV or on the web; the call-in number is 1-877-283-7570. AARP Foundation Director Amy Nofziger will discuss popular scams you should be aware of, as well as cons related to the new Medicare card. They’ll take questions live and four callers will have a chance to win a shredder.

Western Union Scam Claim Deadline Extended

The deadline’s been extended to those tricked into wiring money to scammers using Western Union. They now have until  May 31 to make a claim. If money was sent through Western Union between January 1, 2004, and January 19, 2017, and it was lost to a scammer, a refund might be in order.