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Legislative watch: Crunch time at the 2011 Legislature

Janice Ayres
For the Nevada Appeal

It’s crunch time at the Legislature and all bills, except exempt ones, had to be acted on by Friday, or they were history. Here are some recent bills that may be of interest to you:

AB123: That revises provisions concerning the reporting of crimes against elderly persons was signed by Gov. Brian Sandoval. We have been tracking this bill and are happy it made it all the way and the governor signed it. Not everyone is aware, but crimes against seniors is huge.

AB242: Requires a quasi-public organization that receives money from a state agency to make available certain information. We have been tracking this bill and offered some amendments to reduce a duplication of effort and they were considered and applied. We believe in accountability and transparency of state funds, but not to adding reports that have already been filed with a state agency and are available to the Legislative Council Bureau. This bill will probably pass and it should.

AB534: Increases penalties for operating certain group homes without a license. We support this.

It’s a toss-up as to whether a special session will be held. I know our legislators are working weekends and nights to get things done so they can avoid the expense of a special session. Kudos to you all for your hard work. However, we knew from day one that the 2011 Legislature would revolve around two issues: The budget and redistricting and those are the two biggies right now.

On the national front, I have sent letters to the two appropriation chairmen, Sen. Tom Harkin and Rep. Denny Rehberg to please reconsider their devastating cuts to RSVP programs; also I sent copies of the letters to Dean Heller, our new senator, who now serves on the Committee on Aging. It’s a rather ironic appointment since Dean voted to do away with the Senior Corps programs when he was on the House side. I’m waiting to see what he does on the Senate side.

I pointed out to all the people I sent letters to that the Rural RSVP Program has several cost saving programs to help seniors remain at home and out of institutions. This saves taxpayers millions of dollars. Why kill the program off?? To date, no answer from any of these people. Surprise, surprise!!! Your phone calls, letters, cards, etc. had a strong impact on keeping Senior Corps programs alive in 2011. Now we are facing 2012 for elimination. Call Dean Heller and ask him where he stands on this issue. His number is (202) 224-6244. His address is 4 Russell Courtyard, Washington, D.C., 20510.

Also ask Joe Heck about his position as the movement will begin in the House. Joe’s number is: (202) 225-3252.

Now we will see who replaces Dean? For me it will be someone who will make a public commitment to our seniors and keep it – someone who has a track record I can examine and see how that person has supported seniors.

Stay tuned!

• Janice Ayres is president Nevada Senior Corps Association