This year we are focusing our efforts on the four areas below. The last three have been among our top priorities for many years. Restoring the No-Fare Bus Pass, as described in our lead article, has gotten the attention of many legislators. The result has been the introduction of numerous bills, always a positive sign.
(“H” prefix denotes RI House of Representatives bills, “S” RI Senate bills.)
Restoring No-Fare Bus Passes: The following bills have been introduced to restore this vital program used by over 4,000 seniors and 9,700 persons living with disabilities. The bill numbers and prime sponsors are: S031(Elizabeth Crowley), S115(Harold Metts), H5241(William O’Brien), and H5173(Moira Walsh). H5020 (David Coughlin) appropriates $900,000 in RIPTA funding to subsidize the No-Fare Program.
Community Senior Services Grant Program: Establishes a formula grant program for senior centers, and for senior programs in municipalities lacking senior centers. Based on a formula of $5 per senior in the area served, it would generate about $400,000 in additional funding for these programs in this fiscal year. It also calls for an annual increase of $1per senior until reaching $10 per senior. This is the 4th year for this bill that was originally crafted by our consultant Maureen Maigret. The bills are S209 (Louis DiPalma) and H5251(Deborah Ruggiero).
Medicare Premium Savings Act: Would extend to 9,000 low-income seniors a program that would pay their Medicare Part B premiums of $109 per month with Medicaid dollars, which are 50% federally matched. This is the fourth year that Representative Edie Ajello and Erin Lynch Prata have been the prime sponsors of these bills. The numbers are S0271 and H5378.
Improving the Aging & Disability Resource Center (ADRC): This legislation would make significant improvements to the information and referral program known as The Point. It would create an interactive Website, a comprehensive information database, and personalized long-term care options counseling. We have been urging the state to improve this service for many years. H5252(Lauren Carson) and S270(Maryellen Goodwin) are the bill numbers.
For more information about these bills on the Internet: Go to http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/pages/legislation.aspx and click on “Bill Status/History”. This will show additional sponsors, a link to the bill’s text, and when hearing on the bill will be held (often only scheduled 48 hrs. in advance.)
To find out who are your state legislators: go to https://vote.sos.ri.gov,
click on “Look up general voter information” and enter your home address.