Archive for the ‘Legislation’ Category

GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS

Posted: May 9, 2011 in Legislation

From a recent email sent by AARP

Florida’s New Laws

2011 legislative session included a few wins, some losses and a late-breaking outrage

Florida lawmakers wrapped up their 2011 legislative session today, and the news was mixed for older Floridians.

Consumer issues

Florida telephone consumers, brace yourselves – your basic landline phone rates may be headed up.  Older consumers often prefer landline phones because they’re reliable, even in natural disasters, or because they are required for some health-alert systems.

Under this new law, phone companies will be able to raise rates for basic landline service at will.  Please start a file now to save your landline phone bills.  If your bills go up, we’ll be asking you to share rising phone costs with your legislators. Read more here.

Health and long-term care

Know someone who has chronic long-term health concerns?  Warn them – Florida nursing homes may soon not be safe for them.  At the very end of the legislative session, without ever holding a public hearing, legislators voted to reduce nursing care standards for Florida nursing homes.  Learn more.

If you encounter lower levels of nursing-home care for you or loved ones, AARP urges you to let us know – and to tell your legislator how the new law affected you.

Legislators also enacted a sweeping law forcing all Floridians to go through managed-care organizations to get care financed by Medicaid.  This includes older people getting care through Medicaid in nursing-homes – about two of three older Floridians in nursing homes.  AARP fought hard to ensure that local doctors and hospitals could band together to set up their own networks to provide patient-centered, high-quality care.

AARP urges you and your family to report any problems you experience in receiving care through the new system directly to your state legislators.

The session’s results weren’t all bad.  AARP was able to help stop legislation that could have let electric companies raise your rates to pay, in advance, for renewable-energy facilities.  Stopping the bill saved Florida consumers nearly $2 billion over five years.  AARP also helped stop an auto-title loan bill that would have let loan companies charge interest of 200 percent or more.

The Medicaid legislation was much improved thanks to your influence.

And while lawmakers did not adopt an outright ban on texting while driving, they required driver-safety courses to include warnings about the high risk of driving while holding phones or other electronic devices.   AARP driver-safety courses already contain such warnings.

Learn more here, or visit AARP Florida on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.  Or call us toll-free at 1-866-595-7678

Below is a recent email sent by AARP. Seniors as a voting group have great power … if we can all agree on what is best for us. Keep your eyes on every move your representatives in the state and federal government make. Don’t let them vote away your money and security.

Read the details below carefully. Remember you get to vote too … and you can take your representatives out of office — replaced with sympathetic and honorable people who are real statesmen.

Maybe few million emails to governor Rick Scott; followed up by angry phone calls, would help. What is up with our new governor? He only seems to be representing himself and tough luck to the citizens of Florida. He has already had to reverse his view on high speed rail because of heavy push back. Keep him on his toes!

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Florida legislators ignore consumer concerns, deregulate phone rates

Floridians 50+ have had a tough time in the last five years – falling home values, rising property insurance, turmoil in the stock market and skyrocketing gas and prescription drug prices.

Florida lawmakers are worried – that the phone company’s not getting enough out of your wallet!

Under Senate Bill 1524, approved by the state Senate Thursday, state utilities regulators can’t stop the phone company from raising your rates for basic landline phone service anytime it wants.  The House has already approved the bill.  Now it goes to Gov. Rick Scott.

Thousands of AARP members called in to urge legislators to call a halt to unlimited phone-company rate increases.

But legislators refused to listen.

AARP Florida won’t give up.  We’re still fighting bills that would allow big electric utilities companies to raise your rates – to pay for renewable-energy facilities that haven’t even been built yet.

With your help, we can keep the pressure on.  AARP Florida will be reaching out to you in coming months to let you know how the Florida Legislature’s 2011 session will affect you, and millions of other Floridians 50+.

Meanwhile, we’d like to ask this:  Start saving your old phone bills in a file.  Pay particular attention to the bottom line.

We’ll be working to hold Florida legislators accountable for their actions.    That file may come in handy.

Meanwhile, go to www.aarp.org/fl to learn more about the Legislature and its actions.

You told AARP you don’t need higher utilities costs. 

In a January AARP survey, eight of 10 older Floridians said rising utilities costs were a concern.

Rather than listening, Florida lawmakers plan to let the phone company raise your rates at will!  Under two bills now speeding through the Florida Legislature (Senate Bill 1524 or House Bill 1231), Florida consumers of all ages could face large increases in basic landline telephone service.

Call 1-888-222-4121 toll-free to ask your lawmaker to oppose Senate Bill 1524 or House Bill 1231.

Call now – while you can still afford to!  Big phone companies are applying heavy pressure.  Faced with rows of phone-company lobbyists, legislators in one committed voted 23-0 for these flawed bills.

The legislation would wipe away the powers of the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) to rein in phone-company rates.  Who’d decide whether your rates should go up for basic landline service?  The governor?  Lawmakers?  No . . . the phone company itself!

Only you can stop this legislation.  Call 1-888-222-4121 toll-free to discuss Senate Bill 1524 or House Bill 1231 with your legislator.

To learn more, please join us on a Tele-Townhall phone call at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 20.  Register for the Tele-Townhall by sending an email to flaarp@aarp.org by tomorrow, Friday, April 15.  Please INCLUDE YOUR PHONE NUMBER in the email.

Or go to www.action.aarp.org/fl  to send messages to your state legislator about these bad bills.  Please also pass this message along to friends and neighbors.  We need everyone’s voice!

AARP fights to keep consumers’ utilities rates fair and stable.  In 2010, working with you and millions of other Floridians, we beat back proposals to raise electric-utility rates by a whopping $1.6 billion.  Now we’re fighting phone companies – and your help is vital.  Call 1-888-222-4121 and ask your legislator to oppose Senate Bill 1524 or House Bill 1231.

Like AARP Florida on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/aarpfl and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/aarpflorida