Under the leadership of the Legislative/Environmental Committee, our Chapter seeks to educate members about critical issues affecting them and to call for action as appropriate when pending legislation may have an impact on their lives.
The Committee arranges for informed community leaders to speak at our monthly chapter meetings once or twice a year.
The Chapter’s Board of Directors may take positions on key legislative and policy issues at the state and local levels that will affect seniors. These positions are communicated to policymakers through letters from the Chapter and from individual members, through petitions and personal contact, including telephone calls and emails. Chapter members who have joined the South Coastal AARP Advocacy Team (SCAT) are notified when an issue needs to be brought to the attention of our elected officials.
Early in 2018, the Legislative/Environmental Committee conducted a survey of the Chapter membership to establish the top three legislative policy issues of interest to Chapter members. The following emerged as the top three issues:
Transforming our health care system (including Medicare, improving access, containing costs, promoting health, affordable drugs)
30% of all votes
Security (including Social Security, savings and pensions, working longer, etc.)
29% of all votes
Long-term services and supports (including improving care coordination, increasing availability of home and community care, supporting family caregivers, protecting the frail)
17% of all votes
On April 19, a delegation from the Chapter traveled to Dover for South Coastal AARP Day at Legislative Hall. Our representatives talked with legislators about amending House Bill 268 to ensure that seniors (65+) relocating to this area before January 1, 2018, would qualify for the 3-year waiting period for the Senior Property Tax Credit. This effort was successful, and House Bill 348 grandfathered the eligibility of seniors with 3 years residency by January 1, 2018, to qualify for the Senior Property Tax Credit.
During this visit, our representatives also worked alongside staff from the state AARP Advocacy office to petition legislators to pass AARP’s Share the Care Act, which would allow Delaware’s 123,000 unpaid family caregivers to hire home health aides who would be able to give patients medications, including routine pills, eye drops, or oxygen. This bill did not make it out of committee, but work is ongoing to see that this important legislation is re-considered and passed this year.