Advocating for Connecticut in 2021
The pandemic closed the Connecticut Capitol to the public during the 2021 legislative session, but AARP was active, virtually advocating and submitting nearly 50 pieces of legislative testimony. Highlights of the important legislation AARP worked on in 2021 is below.
The pandemic closed the Connecticut Capitol to the public during the 2021 legislative session, but AARP was active, virtually advocating and submitting nearly 50 pieces of legislative testimony. Highlights of the important legislation AARP worked on in 2021 is below. A full recap is at www.aarp.org/CT.
Nursing Homes and Long-Term Care
- SB 973: Strengthening the Voice of Residents and Family Councils. Requires input from resident and family councils at long-term care facilities on state-wide policies affecting living conditions.
- SB 975: Strengthening the Bill of Rights for Long-Term Care Facility Residents. Gives nursing home residents the right to treat their living quarters as their home and allows them to choose what technology they use to facilitate virtual visitation. Residents must pay for the technology and its installation, but nursing homes are responsible for paying for the internet, electricity, and a power source to run the devices.
- SB 1030: Concerning Long-Term Care Facilities. Implements many of the Nursing Home and Assisted Living Oversight Working Groups recommendations, which the legislature convened to address issues that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- HB 6622: Concerning Prescription Drug Formularies and Lists of Covered Drugs. Limits the ability of insurance companies to make prescription drug formulary changes during a plan year. Consumers, who often select health plans in part because of what medicines are covered and the cost, are not able to change their plans in the middle of the year. This bill ensures the plan think they are getting is the plan they will have for the year.
- SB 5: Concerning Increased Opportunities for Absentee Voting, Safe and Secure In-Person Voting, Voter Registration and Certain Other Changes Regarding Election Administration. Expands automatic voter registration, makes secure ballot drop boxes permanent, allows electronic signatures for key elections forms, and many other voting rights expansions.
- HJ 58: Resolution Proposing a State Constitutional Amendment To Allow No-Excuse Absentee Voting. Passed by a bipartisan majority, but not the 75 percent required for a constitutional question on the ballot, this resolution must pass again in the next legislature by a simple majority. If it passes in 2023, the 2024 ballot will include the question of removing the constitutional prohibition on no excuse absentee balloting.
- HJ 59: Resolution Approving an Amendment to the State Constitution to Allow for Early Voting. A referendum to remove the constitutional prohibition against in-person early voting will be put to the voters in 2022.
- SB 56: Concerning Age Discrimination. Prohibits employers from asking age and school attendance date information on job applications. Nearly half of older workers worry that their age could negatively impact their current job and job search.
- HB 5429: Concerning Pedestrian Safety, the Vision Zero Council, Speed Limits in Municipalities, Fines and Charges for Certain Violations and the Greenways Commemorative Account. Improves crosswalk safety, gives local traffic authorities more control over speed limits and pedestrian safety zones within their towns, and increases fines for distracted driving.
- HB 6526: Concerning Electric Suppliers. Deems any contract between an electric supplier and residential customer that includes variable rates null and void; prohibits supplier contracts with termination or early cancellation fees for residential customers; requires suppliers to provide customers with an estimated average monthly bill when offering a contract; and applies training requirements to third parties who are compensated by a supplier’s third-party marketer.
- SB 763: Requiring Drivers of Paratransit Vehicles to Report Suspected Abuse, Neglect, Exploitation or Abandonment of Elderly Persons. Requires drivers of paratransit vehicles to report suspected abuse, neglect, exploitation, or abandonment of an older adult.
The legislature also passed a bipartisan, two-year, $46 billion budget package that includes a tax exemption for individual retirement account income, reduces copays for the Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders, does not apply an asset test to the Medicare Savings Program, and increases the monthly Personal Needs Allowance for nursing home residents.
Nora Duncan is the state director for AARP Connecticut.