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Older North Dakotans Big Winners in Legislative Session

AARP North Dakota members worked hard during the 2019 session to ensure legislators heard about the needs of aging adults. (MatthewUND/CreativeCommons)
AARP North Dakota members worked hard during the 2019 session to ensure legislators heard about the needs of aging adults. (MatthewUND/CreativeCommons)
May 13, 2019

BISMARCK, N.D. – With the state legislature now adjourned, advocates for older North Dakotans are reflecting on a legislative session that saw big wins for the 50-plus crowd.

Josh Askvig, state director of AARP North Dakota, says the organization’s number one priority had been legislation that's been attempted three other times.

"The bill called the CARE Act would ensure hospitals provide information and demonstration of medical tasks that those 62,100 family caregivers are asked to perform at home once a loved one is discharged," he explains.

The CARE Act passed, and will become law in August.

Askvig says another major victory is a reduction in the state income tax on Social Security benefits that will impact an estimated 30,000 people.

And there were other measures intended to improve the lives of older adults, including investments in affordable housing, increased access to telemedicine, and a bill that brings banks into the fold of entities that report suspected fraud.

Through various other bills, Askvig says, financial and functional eligibility for state programs that were sometimes burdensome and shut people out of in-home care services will now be reduced.

"There's an enhancement of ensuring that no matter which location they try and access services that they'll receive the services in a timely manner,” he states.

Askvig maintains the success can be attributed to the concerted effort of AARP members and advocates, who he says came out in force during the session to talk with lawmakers.

"I think the results really just prove just how effective our member's voices can be when they speak up and say 'This is what's important to me and my community, and, state legislator, this is how you can help,'" he states.

AARP will be working over the coming months to educate people around the state about the new laws, and how they might be affected.

Disclosure: AARP North Dakota contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Mary Schuermann Kuhlman, Public News Service - ND