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California Senior Legislature Session Day 2
Tuesday we got down to work! I signed an oath to uphold the USA and California Constitutions - that seemed OK, but I also repeated after the Secretary of State that I would "defend those documents from enemies, foreign and domestic". I wasn't exactly sure what that might entail, but I went ahead and said it anyway.
Three hour session in the Assembly Chambers listening to a long list of politicians, and organizational and governmental administrators address a wide variety of Senior issues. The most striking quality of the program is the fact that everyone is getting ready to change Governors, and many expect to change jobs. Certainly got an inside feeling about how difficult and dispiriting the past 18 months of budget cutting has been on the political process. Not much good news, but a clear tone of expectation that we will gradually emerge from these hard times.
The most upbeat presentation came from the Sacramento Mayor's office. They instituted a drive to increase volunteer activity throughout the city - providing an easy way to sign up for and record hours of work - and setting a goal of 500,000 hours of action by citizens. The year end total was 1.7 million hours of volunteer help. They are shooting for 5 million hours next year - making Sacraments the 'kindest city in the world". What a great idea and accomplishment!
Spent the afternoon with the Health Committee, hearing testimony, discussing, and voting on proposed legislation. Very interesting! Here are bills we are sending to the full session tomorrow:
- Finance Senior Ombudsman Program from fees paid by Nursing Homes and Senior Care Facilities.
- Include statement of "purpose for use" on prescription medication bottles, so patients know what they are taking.
- Permit over the counter sale of hearing aids - thus reducing the cost by nearly 90%.
- Establishing severe penalties for misuse of psychoactive dedications in Nursing Homes without informed consent of patient or guardian.
- Restrict Nursing Homes from serving as payee rep for patients, and paying themselves from patient's managed funds.
- Establish a "Remote Patient Monitoring" pilot project for seniors, in cooperation with major medical service providers statewide.
- Add hearing, visual, and dental care to current Medicare coverage.
Assembly Floor Session this morning, then more Committee work this afternoon.
Demographic note: More than one third of participants are women, and very few African Americans or Hispanics. I think that is a reflection of the age/generation of the participants. Among the speakers - mostly a bit younger, much more ethnic variety, and about fifty per cent women.