“My heartfelt thanks to all of you who have worked so hard to make this happen- I’ve always been an AARP fan, but you’ve taken my loyalty to a new level.”
Mignon Fleishel sent this message to AARP after Senate Bill 178 passed the Georgia Senate on March 14th. Mignon’s mother lives in an assisted living facility in Cobb County but had been told she had to move to a nursing home because she needs assistance getting in her wheelchair. SB 178 would create licensure category for assisted living that would give Georgians the choice to age in place as long as their needs are being met. Passage of this legislation was a top priority for AARP; staff and volunteers worked tirelessly to get this legislation through all of the hurdles to passage. The Governor is expected to sign the legislation into law soon. Now, Mignon and the hundreds of Georgia caregivers facing this can be happy that their loved ones can age in place, controlling their destiny in their final years.
During the 3 month session, nearly 400 members of AARP came from around the state to tell legislators about their concerns. This combined with emails, calls and in district meetings with legislators definitely made a difference!
AARP Georgia had several successes including:
Restoration of funds for key programs for seniors. The General Assembly restored $1 million in funding for more than 138,000 Meals on Wheels. They also restored funds for Alzheimer’s respite services ($225,000) and for Home and Community-Based Services respite assistance ($1,376,718.) These non-Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services funding enables individuals to remain at home or in the community rather than being admitted to a typically more-expensive nursing home. Georgia currently has over 18,000 people on waiting lists for these services.
Defeat of a proposed grocery tax. As part of a proposed overall of the state’s taxing structure, a blue-ribbon Tax Council recommended adding a 4% state sales tax on groceries to generate revenue to be able to lower the individual income tax rate from 6% to 4%. The tax was defeated.