Shelby attends Senior Tar Heel Legislature
RALEIGH ó Jerry Shelby represented Rowan County at the N.C. Senior Tar Heel Legislature meeting March 18-19 in Raleigh.
The Senior Legislature, established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1993, encourages citizen involvement and advocacy concerning aging issues, provides information and education to senior adults and the general public regarding issues before the General Assembly, and makes recommendations to the assembly on legislative needs of senior North Carolinians.
Shelby is the delegate from Rowan County. He serves on the Resolutions and the Legislation Issues Committees. The Resolution Committee is responsible for developing the process of identifying benefits, expenditures and financial returns, setting the priority, and the presentation of the Resolutions to the N.C. General Assembly for consideration into law.
Of special interest to the delegates were issues related to the 10 percent reduction in Medicare payments to doctors effective July 1, funding senior centers, priorities of the General Assembly for the short session, expiration of Project CARE, prescription medication review by local pharmacists, and senior friendly communities.
Speakers at the meeting included:
n Lt. Governor Beverly Perdue and Speaker of the House Joe Hackney congratulated the N.C. Senior Tar Heel Legislature for their 15-year anniversary and reviewed some of the legislation the organization was responsible for getting through the legislature over the years.
Perdue emphasized the importance of expanding the Home Exemption Act to give property tax relief for people on fixed incomes when property tax reevaluation increases more than the cost of living and people are forced out of their homes.
n Dennis Street, director for N.C. Division of Aging and Adult Services, presented the funding for project CARE will expire at the end of June forcing many caregivers with no relief unless citizens can convince the legislature to renew it.
The Home and Community Block Grant that helps keep seniors in their homes including the Meals on Wheels and alternative transportation has a waiting list of more than 11,500 elders that need special assistance. The goal of the state is “no senior left behind”.
The state wants to train volunteers to assist senior citizens about how not to get victimized. The state is developing a seamless service system to help seniors and the disabled population called Aging and Disabled Resource Connection (ADRC) so a person only has to make one visit or phone call to get all the information they need to handle the problem or situation they have.
The N.C. Roadmap for Healthy Aging will focus on evidence-based health promotion through exercise, proper eating, and nutrition.
Delegates discussed asking citizens to call, send letters or get petitions signed in their communities to send to Senators Dole and Burr to pass legislation that will override the 10 percent reduction in Medicare payments to doctors that takes effect July 1 that may cause doctors to not accept Medicare patients. Current seniors and the baby boomers starting to get Medicare may not be able to get a doctor.
Delegates were given information to share with other seniors on what to do to get the IRS income tax relief payment.
At the end of the session the delegates visited the legislature to advocate the issues of interest to their community, county and the state.