Legislative Update: CAPITOL ACTION TEAM REPORT

CSLA CAT REPORT ON BILLS SUPPORTED IN 2016 AB1584 (Brown) Governor Brown vetoed AB 1584 that would have permanently restored the state Cost of Living Adjustment for SSI/SSP benefits in California. Despite the Governor’s COLA in the 2016-17 budget – the first reinvestment in a decade – SSI/SSP recipients still suffer from significant cuts while the cost of basic necessities such as housing and food continue to rise. Governor Brown’s veto message indicates his desire that these discussions take place in the context of the budget.  SB 1150 Leno  was signed into law by Governor Brown Protection of surviving spouses and heirs. Surviving spouses and heirs who are not named in the decease’s mortgage or deed can seek loan modification.   Continue reading

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: CSLA Capitol Action Team (CAT) Legislative Report

The following is the current status of several bills we have supported as of July 2016. AB 1584 -Brown/Thurmond - Assembly-member Cheryl Brown first introduced this bill and CSLA championed it in 2015. The bill was proposed to give an increase to recipients on SSI/SSP and would reinstate the cost-ofliving adjustment for SSI/SSP. Many seniors statewide would be affected by the bill, specifically seniors and persons on disability living way below the poverty level. AB1584 is an incremental step toward toward full restoration of recession-era cuts to the SSI/SSP program, and would award monthly grants to seniors and other disabled adults who get no or minimal Social Security benefits. It is currently in Senate Appropriations Committee and a hearing is scheduled for August 1, 2016. Phone calls in support of this bill to members of the Appropriations Committee may be beneficial. SB 1091- Liu Long Term Care InsuranceThis bill would provide that long-term care insurance also includes disability income coverage that provides benefits that may commence after the insured has reached Social Security’s normal retirement age and family expense disability insurance policies, riders, endorsements, or amendments that provide coverage for disabled persons during periods of institutional care, as specified. The bill would provide that long-term care insurance does not include a policy, rider, endorsement, or amendment that provides benefits triggered by activities of daily living, and that complies with specified requirements, including that it not be advertised, marketed, offered, or designed as long-term care insurance or as providing coverage for long-term care services. Current status of SB1091 as of June 30, 2016, it passed out of the previous committee with author’s amendments and has been referred to the Committee on Insurance. SB 33 - Hernandez. Medi-Cal: estate recovery. Died in Suspense Committee. SB 1053 - Leno - Housing Rights - Would provide all Californians with full and fair opportunity to seek housing by ensuring that landlords cannot deny applicants simply because they receive federal rental subsidies. Current Status: Did not make it out of the Committee on Appropriation. Dead for this legislative year. SB 1150 - Leno SB 1150 Clarifies the responsibilities of a lender when a borrower dies and leaves his surviving homeowner spouses, children or other heirs who wish to assume the loan, giving them a fair chance to take responsibility for the mortgage loan attached to their home. Current Status: SB1150 as of June 30, 2016 is active bill in floor process. 

SB128 End of Life Options

In 2015 CSLA’s Annual Membership Summit’s priority legislation was SB 128 End of Life Options.   Fran Johns, Pam Fadem, Diana Madoshi, Meredith, Minkler and Rick Kaplowitz are CSLA members who have been working on SB 128 since the late 90’s.  We are proud that California’s End of Life law was passed.  The determination of volunteer groups like CSLA, was spearheaded by the Compassion & Choices Group.  Compassion & Choices is the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit organization working to improve care and expand choice at the end of life.  Countless volunteers, doctors, priests, members of the disability community and politicians, made a huge difference in getting this law passed.  CSLA is proud to be counted among them.  Counting California, five states now have medical aid in dying laws and fully half of the remaining states have active campaigns in place to make this a reality in their states too. CSLA continues to work with Compassion & Choices on their Access Campaign, with strategic initiatives to educate people and making sure they understand their end-of-life-options.  The new Law goes into effect June 9, 2016.  At the request of a terminally ill patient with less than 6 months to live, a doctor, with the agreement of a second doctor, can legally prescribe a lethal dose of a barbiturate to a patient who then can self-administer the dose, if and when, the time comes. But the work isn’t done.  Because as Compassion and Choices members remind us, it takes a campaign to get aid-in-dying passed and signed into law, but it also takes a campaign to turn that new law into a truly accessible end-of-life option for people throughout the state.  Compassion and Choices spearheading an Access Campaign, twin strategic initiatives, headed by volunteers, like CSLA senior leaders, to educate people by talking about their values and beliefs and making sure they understand their end of life options. Another part of the access campaign involves educating doctors, and this happens best when individuals like CSLA senior leaders, talk with their doctors about personal end of life wishes, and then ask the doctor if he or she would be comfortable honoring written wishes, in accordance with the new law.  This is critical, because Oregon’s experience has shown that doctors often don’t fully understand the new law or feel comfortable bring end of life options up to patients.  Too often many patients wait until after the are in extreme pain to initiate the conversation with their doctor, Compassion and Choses began a very successful access campaign in Oregon, which now has far more health care providers participating and manly more patients speaking up about their end of life wishes.  CSLA is participating in a similar access campaign in California, helping with the education needed for effective implementation.  This is an opportunity for any CSLA member who is interested in being involved to contact Compassion and Choices National Volunteer Manager via email at volunteer@compassionandchoices.org or call (800) 247-7421. GET INVOLVED!!