To honor their work in supporting caregivers across the state, AARP Florida has recognized Representatives Chip LaMarca and Will Robinson Jr. as 2023 Capitol Caregivers. AARP’s Capitol Caregiver Award was created to recognize remarkable leadership by elected officials in states across the country. They have each worked to advance policies that serve Florida’s older adults, expand elder abuse protections and support family caregivers.
During the 2023 legislative session, Rep. LaMarca sponsored HB 603, Exploitation of Vulnerable Persons. This legislation created a new way to prosecute crimes of exploitation committed against adults aged 65 and older without consideration of the victim’s physical or mental capabilities. Until now Florida’s criminal exploitation laws have only applied to cases involving victims with disabilities or age-related vulnerabilities.
“Protecting our most vulnerable Floridians is something that is extremely important to me. Our seniors have invested their lives into their families, communities, and businesses, and they are to be raised up and celebrated,” said Rep. Chip LaMarca. “I was proud to champion legislation to protect our seniors with HB-603, Exploitation of Vulnerable Persons. This legislation provides much stronger penalties against people who would exploit any person 65 years of age or older, with penalties from a third-degree felony, all the way to a first-degree felony. We must stand against anyone that would prey upon our most vulnerable citizens.”
This year, Rep. Will Robinson Jr. championed HB 351, Certified Nursing Assistants. This law creates a new professional designation of Qualified Medication Aides (QMA) for Certified Nursing Assistants with at least one year of prior experience who meet specified licensure and training requirements. QMA’s will be permitted to administer routine medications to nursing center residents under the supervision of a registered nurse. This will enhance healthcare security by allowing registered nurses to focus on higher-level tasks and will improve the quality of care for patients.
“It is a privilege to receive the Capitol Caregiver Award from AARP. I commend AARP on their continued advocacy for enhancing the quality of life for all,” said Rep. Will Robinson. “Last year, I was proud to sponsor legislation that provided safeguards to protect our aging population from predatory business practices, as well as expand health security for older adults and caregivers across our state. Protecting our aging population will continue to be a priority during the 2024 Legislative Session, and I look forward to continued work on protecting our most valuable citizens.”
“AARP Florida thanks Reps. LaMarca and Robinson for their leadership in enhancing the lives of older Floridians. Laws like HB 603 and HB 351 will make a difference in our state by protecting our most vulnerable population and expanding health care access,” said AARP Florida Director Jeff Johnson. “We are looking forward to working with Florida’s lawmakers and continuing to advocate for older adults and their caregivers.”
In Florida, AARP will continue to advocate for topics that matter most to the 50+. To learn more about AARP Florida, visit AARP.org/FL
This story is provided by AARP Florida. Visit the AARP Florida page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.
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