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South Dakotans Mobilize for “Lobby Days” in Pierre

January 28, 2008

Pierre, SD – Consumer protection, retirement security and health care: those are top issues South Dakota policymakers will hear about starting today from AARP members gathered in Pierre. More than 300 volunteers for the senior advocacy group have converged in the state capital to meet with lawmakers in the "Lobby Days" event, which runs through Wednesday. They're also celebrating their organization's 50th anniversary.

Sam Wilson, associate state director for advocacy for ARRP South Dakota, says it is a great opportunity for members to talk with legislators about concerns, such as healthcare reform.

"You know, I think that one of the things that even the governor and the legislature would like to be able to do would be to extend some of the coverages for low-income individuals and make sure that our most vulnerable citizens have access to health insurance."

Wilson would also like to see stronger laws to ensure protections for consumers who file auto insurance claims.

"They need to make sure that their insurance company is responsive to them and doesn't put any burdensome demands on them to get their cars fixed or get certain replacement parts, or travel great distances to go to the auto body shop that the company prefers rather than what the consumer prefers. These are really very basic and minimum requirements that other states have that we don't in South Dakota at this time."

Wilson says the AARP members will mark the group's 50th anniversary with a special, daily presentation of a miniature anniversary cake to Governor Mike Rounds in the Capitol rotunda, before the start of each day's legislative session.

David Law/John Robinson, Public News Service - SD