GCOA's Senior Issues Newsletter
Senior Issues Newsletter April 2022
2022 CO-AGE Issue Final Legislative Update
Last Monday, the General Assembly closed out the 2022 Legislative Session under the Gold Dome. GCOA was present until the final Sine Die motion at approximately 12:15am.
HB 911, the State’s FY2023 budget, was approved and now awaits the Governor’s signature. Both the House and Senate allotted a generous $4 Million for Home and Community Based Services (HCBS). This will remove thousands of older Georgians off the waiting list, helping them to continue aging in place and out of long-term care prematurely. The budget also includes a cost-of-living salary increase for state employees, benefitting workers in the Division of Aging Services and other departments that provide HCBS.
In addition to the HCBS funding for FY 2023, the Legislature also approved a CO-AGE budget priority for $4.2 million in state matching funds to draw $38 million in American Rescue Plan Act grants for Older Americans Act services through the remainder of the current fiscal year. As part of its commitment to expanding innovative Alzheimer’s services through the Georgia Memory Net, the Department of Human Services received an additional $7,120,000.
On Day 39, the Georgia Caregivers Act was passed on the Senate floor with a vote of 50 “Yeas” and 0 “Nays”. This bill, a CO-AGE Legislative priority supported by our advocacy partners AARP of Georgia and the Alzheimer’s Association, is a tremendous benefit to all Georgians. The bill requires hospitals to allow patients to identify a caregiver who can be notified and clearly educated about the patient’s home care needs before the patient is discharged.
In this Issue:
Now that the 2022 Legislative Session is officially over, the Senior Issues Newsletter will switch from a weekly to a monthly format. Thank you for your advocacy efforts and loyal readership this quarter. For a full overview of the Session and other CO-AGE happenings, get ready to Engage with CO-AGE! We are now looking ahead to the 2023 Legislative Session and have sent out the new Call for Issues.
More information below!
Other Bills of Interest
The Mental Health Parity Act will treat mental health and substance use services the same as physical health services, especially in how insurance companies cover these benefits. For years, Georgia’s mental health and substance use advocates have been working to improve access to services. This ambitious legislation seeks to address the full spectrum of challenges faced by all stakeholders. GCOA and CO-AGE are pleased to have supported this much needed legislation.
HB 1302 will provide a one-time tax credit for taxpayers who filed returns for both the 2020 and 2021 taxable years. Once eligible individuals file their 2021 tax returns, the Georgia Department of Revenue will automatically credit the taxpayer with a one-time refund ranging between $250-$500, depending on your marital and/or dependent status.
In March, Governor Kemp signed HB 304 to temporarily suspend the state's excise tax on motor fuel sales. This has made a noticeable difference at the gas pumps. HB 304 will be in effect through May 31, 2022.
Healthcare Facility Funding
Governor Kemp has allocated more than $217 Million to hospitals, assisted living communities and personal care homes with 25 or more beds to help prevent and mitigate the spread and effects of COVID-19.
Call For Issues
Let Your CO-AGE Voice Be Heard
On April 1st, GCOA and CO-AGE announced the 2023 Call for Issues. Each year the voting members of CO-AGE select the priorities that CO-AGE will advocate for during the next legislative session. If you are a CO-AGE member, you should have received an email announcing the “Call for Issues”. If you have an issue that affects older Georgians throughout the state and requires legislative action to correct, please submit your issue. Visit our website HERE for more information.
Deadline to submit is May 1, 2022.
Engage With CO-AGE
Please join us for this virtual presentation where we will update you on our current legislative issues and the progress made at the Georgia Capital this session. As we continue to bring you virtual and live events, GCOA wants to hear from you.
Contact Eric Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in hosting a virtual event!
Thank You Legislators
GCOA would like to thank the legislators who fought hard along with us on behalf of seniors across Georgia including but not limited to:
Rep. Lee Hawkins Rep. Katie Dempsey Rep. Sharon Cooper Sen. Ben Watson
Sen. Dean Burke Rep. John LaHood
Without the support of these and other legislators, GCOA would not have been able to accomplish what we did this legislative session. We look forward to continuing to work with state legislators to ensure that seniors across Georgia remain top priority.
(HCBS): "Adult Day Care for my husband was a lifesaver! I'm grateful for these services!"
As we prepare for the next Legislative Session, remember, budget funding and legislation are greatly influenced by the personal experiences of older Georgians. Legislators want to hear about how you are affected by the budget and current laws of the state. GCOA can't succeed without YOU!!
Please click HERE to see how to submit a good personal story.
(Teledentistry): "I live in rural Georgia and have a difficult time getting to my dentist appointments twenty miles away."
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