Legislative News … Daniel Nnorth and Claudia Schott

State Budget

The State Budget must be approved by the legislature by June 15.  By June 10, we need to contact our legislators and ask them to vote for the following AARP budget concerns:

Master Plan for Aging
·  Establish the position of Senior Advisor on Aging, Disability, and Alzheimer’s to advance cross-Cabinet initiatives and partnerships.
·  Allocate $5 million for Master Plan for Aging implementation.

Long-Term Services and Supports
·  Allocate $12.5 million for both 21/22 and the first half of 2022/23 to expand Aging & Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs).
·  Allocate $250 million in one-time funds to purchase and rehabilitate Adult Residential Facilities and Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly to increase housing options for older adults and persons with disabilities.
·  Allocate $26 million over three years to fund Caregiver Resource Centers (CRC).
·  Permanently reverse the 7% hours cut in In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS).

Supporting Family Caregivers at Work and at Home
·  Enact an emergency-paid-sick-leave benefit for California workers for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health Security
·  Allocate $15.6 from the general fund to finance the extension of Medi-Cal benefits, including audiology and speech therapy services, incontinence creams and washes, optician/optical lab services, and podiatric services.
·  Allocate $25 million from the general fund in the current year and $100 million per year on an ongoing basis for both long-term case management and lowering the age of adults served to 60, as well as expanding Home Safe and making it a permanent program.

Food Security for low-income older adults
·  Allocate $5.4 million to expand the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) and $5 million to launch new Farm Fresh to Seniors Program.
·  Fund a one-time, $1 million investment for California Department of Social Services (CDSS) to design and integrate a user-centered, simplified CalFresh application for older adults and people with disabilities, in order to increase CalFresh enrollment.

Housing Stability and Equity
·  Allocate $1 billion of this year’s $26 billion budget windfall to respond to the housing crisis, including one-time funds to purchase permanent housing for the growing number of unhoused Californians.

State Legislators

Nursing Homes – Prioritize, Responsible, Oversight, Treatment, Equity and Corporate Transparency (PROTECT) Plan – This is several bills that seek to protect our vulnerable seniors in nursing homes.

AARP is fighting to protect nursing home residents from sickness, isolation, and neglect.  When California nursing homes received over $657 million from the federal government to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic; why did so many of these facilities have inadequate PPE, staffing, and controls to protect residents and staff?

That’s why AARP is urging our state lawmakers to pass reforms that will protect nursing home residents by holding staff accountable for providing safe environments and high-quality care.  State lawmakers must pass laws that will prioritize responsible oversight, treatment, equity and corporate transparency – to protect nursing home residents from isolation, neglect and sickness.

PROTECT Plan State Bills Include

·  SB 650 (STERN) – the majority of taxpayer funding must go to the care and protection of residents, not to fill the pockets of corporate nursing home management and ownership companies.

·  AB 323 (KALRA) – Nursing homes must face stiff penalties for not providing high-quality care to residents.

·  AB 1042 (JONES-SAWYER) – We need to close the loopholes that have allowed nursing homeowners to escape true accountability for poor care; this bill requires all related parties to be held accountable for substandard care.

·  AB 849 (REYES) – Increases penalties for violations that result in the death of a resident.

·  AB749 (NAZARIAN) – Requires medical directors of these facilities to be trained and certified for elderly care.

·  AB 279 (MURASUTCHI) – Prevents patient dumping, making it unlawful to evict a nursing home resident during a public health emergency.

Seniors Deserve Better:  we MUST increase accountability, transparency and quality of care in California’s 1,227 nursing homes.  Please call your legislator and ask him or her to vote AYE on these nursing home bills.

State Assembly

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) introduced her Assembly Bill 995 dealing with the accrual and use of paid sick days.  This bill would amend Section 246 of the Labor Code. Existing law provides three days of paid sick leave for employees who meet specified conditions.  Please urge your Assembly Member to support AB 995 (Gonzalez) which expands Paid Sick Leave from 3 to 5 days.