2022 is right around the corner, and AARP Delaware is hard at work mapping out an advocacy plan. In the coming year, we’ll focus two main issue areas—Retirement Security and Caregiving—along with a few others. Here’s a round-up of our Advocacy plan for 2022:
- Delaware EARNS—While many of our members are already retired, they are concerned about their children and grandchildren, who may not have access to a workplace retirement plan or pension. About half of Delaware workers have no way to save for retirement out of their regular paychecks. AARP is working with DE State Treasurer, Colleen Davis, to help pass HB 205, Delaware EARNS. The bill would give employees of small businesses access to a simple, auto-IRA funded by automatic payroll deductions (the best strategy to build up savings). Fourteen states have already enacted similar plans.
- Paid Family and Medical Leave—On the caregiving front, AARP Delaware is supporting The Healthy Delaware Families Act (SB 1), which creates a paid family and medical leave program, available not just to new parents, but to a broader group of family caregivers of all ages. It would be administered by the Department of Labor and funded by payroll deductions and matching contributions from larger employers (similar to a Workers Compensation Program).
- Caregiver Tax Credit—The bill creates a state tax credit for caregivers, who can claim up to $2000 a year for expenses related to caregiving.
- No-Excuse Absentee Voting—During the pandemic, AARP fought to pass legislation that allowed no-excuse absentee voting, but that legislation has expired. Before the next round of elections in 2022, we plan to support legislation that will allow Delawareans to vote absentee without an excuse.
- Aging-in-Place Working Group—One of our lead volunteers, Wendell Alfred, is serving on Senator Mantzavinos’s Aging-in-Place Working Group, sharing AARP priorities and resources with the group. We hope to support the final recommendations, which are due in March of 2022.
- Prescription Drug Prices—Another big issue for AARP is lowering prescription drug prices. It’s been a top priority at the federal level, and we’d like to see action at the state level, too. Options include Bulk Purchasing, Out-of-Pocket Costs Caps, Transparency, Affordability Boards, and Limits on Formulary Changes mid-year.
- Manufactured Housing—Many of our AARP members live in Manufactured Housing, which is commonly placed on rented land. These homeowners often need legal protections to maintain their rights. We are sharing AARP data and recommendations with Sen. Bryan Townsend, Chair of the Manufactured Housing Committee, and we plan to participate in stakeholder meetings in the coming months.
- Livable Communities—In 2021, AARP Delaware awarded Livable Communities Challenge Grants to the Urban Bike Project (which is hosting a series of “Open Streets” events) and the Wilmington Alliance (which will install a set of sculptural bike racks designed by local artists). This year, we will again offer Challenge Grants. We also plan to work with Bike Delaware to support projects and legislation that will improve pedestrian and bike safety, transportation options, and walkable/bike-able transit-oriented development.
If issues like this are important to you, you’re invited to attend an upcoming meeting of the First State Action Team, a group of Delawareans from all parts of the state and all walks of life who want to get involved, make their voices heard, and make a difference in Delaware. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.