Senior Issues Weekly Newsletter January 12, 2024
2024 Legislative Session : Days 1-5
In this Issue:
Welcome to Georgia's 2024 Legislative Session! Day 1 kicked off on Monday, January 8th. Georgia Council on Aging staff reconnected with some of our champions, started conversations with new ones, attended House and Senate Floor Sessions, and sat in on committee meetings.
Governor Brian Kemp delivered his 2024 State of the State address on Day 4. The press release and video are available for viewing. The Governor also released his budget report for the Amended Fiscal Year 2024 and 2025 Fiscal Year Budgets. Joint Appropriations hearings to further flesh out the Budgets will start next week.
Hosted by Representative Billy Mitchell, Day 5 kicked off the MLK Holiday weekend in celebration with appearances by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House, the Atlanta Boys Choir, and more. Members of the King family, Dr. King's niece, Dr. Angela Farris Watkins, and only grandchild, Yolanda Renee King, were also in attendance to receive the 2024 Holiday proclamation and share remarks in remembrance of the world-renowned, Georgia grown leader and activist. Have a Happy MLK Day!
The daily schedule at the Capitol as well as live streams of hearings and other pertinent information related to happenings under the Gold Dome can be found at legis.ga.gov .
Keep reading for the latest updates on the 2024 CO-AGE priorities.
Non-Medicaid Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) provide support for older Georgians to remain at home as long as possible by providing home modifications, personal assistance, meals, transportation, and other services. The Waiting List for Non-Medicaid HCBS has doubled since COVID to more than 14,000 people on waiting lists for 18,000 services.
CO-AGE proposes a $10 Million increase in funding for Non-Medicaid Home and Community Based Services, which would reduce the waiting list by 6,596 people. It would immediately provide vital services that promote health and independence. On average, these services can help delay premature nursing home care by 51 months (4 years). Healthy people cost less and it can help meet the challenging needs of the burgeoning older population.
Many cases of adult abuse, neglect and exploitation involve more than one kind of abuse and require a network of social services, legal, medical, psychological and law enforcement components for a response. In 2018 the State of Georgia sought to combat elder abuse with legislation authorizing but not mandating judicial circuits in Georgia to create adult abuse Multidisciplinary Teams (MDTs). In the circuits that have such teams, they have proven to be an effective tool against elder abuse. However, many circuits have been unable to implement MDTs due to heavy prosecutor caseloads and lack of administrative resources. As a result, there is no uniformity of response around the state to address adult abuse, exploitation, and neglect.
CO-AGE proposes the creation of a Statewide Multidisciplinary Team Coordinator Program within the Prosecuting Attorney’s Council (PAC) of Georgia. The program will establish regional level coordinators to create, schedule, coordinate, and follow up on all multidisciplinary team meetings within their assigned circuits.
The Medical Aid in Dying (MAID) issue was selected as a priority by CO-AGE in July. However, due to the complexity of the issue, members of the CO-AGE workgroup found it important to defer pursuit of legislative action until the 2025 General Assembly session. Instead, CO-AGE members will launch an educational campaign in 2024 so that the community can better understand the issue, have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in meaningful discourse before approaching the legislature for a request for a Study Committee in 2025.
Save the Date
Registration is now open for Senior Day at the Capitol 2024!
This event is FREE and open to the public but registration is REQUIRED.
Come see the legislative process up close and personal, meet with your legislators, network, and celebrate the 2024 Distinguished Older Georgian with the Georgia Council on Aging and the Coalition of Advocates for Georgia's Elderly! Don't forget to wear your green scarf if you have one.