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I Will Continue to Address Senior Citizen Issues in Legislature

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

Posted on October 20, 2006:

Senator Dyson I was recently contacted via a letter sent by the Maryland/DC Alliance for Retired Americans. The President and State Field Director for the organization, who both signed the letter, asked me for my support of the many issues seniors face in today’s world. I responded in the strongest way possible that I would.

I was also invited to the United Seniors of Maryland’s annual day in Annapolis on January 23, 2007 during the General Assembly Session. I have never missed their annual day and don’t intend on doing so next year.

Since I began serving as your representative, I have always supported our senior citizens. Well before the unpopular Medicare Part D federal drug program was unveiled by the White House, I sponsored successful legislation to provide vital drug prescription coverage for seniors in need. Today, it is one of the many successful bills I have been able to get passed that I am most proud of. Thousands of our senior citizens benefitted from that program.

I am also proud of the work that I was able to do in getting the Department of Natural Resources to fast track approval of our thriving Northern Senior Center in St. Mary’s County. When the DNR held up the construction of the senior center because they feared a rare plant may be growing on the grounds, I was contacted by several advocates for the facility. I immediately asked the DNR to come to the grounds and evaluate whether this plant was indeed what they thought it was. What would have taken months, took just days before the DNR gave their approval to let the building begin.

When tax assessments for seniors became unbelievably burdensome, I successfully worked with the county and the St. Mary’s County delegation to pass a senior tax cap that has provided meaningful relief.

Last year, I sponsored unsuccessful legislation that I intend to re-introduce next year. Senate Bill 845 which required stronger state oversight of our nursing homes so that our seniors are assured of the best possible protection while they are there either for the short or long-term.

The Maryland/DC Alliance for Retired Americans unveiled a list of legislative priorities for 2006-2007 that I will lay out for you and that I intend to help them with in the upcoming legislative session.

The Alliance’s “Aims and Principles” include: expanding local programs that help people with disabilities stay in their own homes; protect the rights of nursing home residents; protect “lifeline” utility rates for older Americans, make tax policies fairer for seniors, expand state-level health benefits and improve affordable transportation options.

The Alliance’s legislative priorities include:

1) Reducing the impacts of escalating costs on seniors with low and moderate incomes.

2) Support adequate funding for Medicaid and related senior programs including fully funding all currently authorized Medicaid Home and Community Based Waiver Slots, and redistributing those slots that are in Community Choice pilot areas to other jurisdictions and well as fully funding senior programs in the Department of Aging and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

3) Provide seniors with healthy and safe choices for living by improving long term care for seniors in institutional settings and at home; supporting aging in place; supporting affordable housing for seniors; meeting senior transportation requirements, beginning by conducting a study of their transportation needs and providing a single point of entry in all counties for access and information about services for seniors.

As I have said, I am more than willing to help the Alliance out with these lofty, but important goals.

[ Return To Senator Roy Dyson's Newsletter ]

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