AARP Outlines Legislative Priorities

Legislators in Indianapolis are getting right back to work, and the AARP said there are a number of agenda items that policymakers should prioritize to improve the lives of Hoosiers. State director June Lyle said they’re putting forth a lot of effort to ensure that lawmakers hear what Hoosiers over the age of 50 have to say.

“We’re working very hard right now to make sure that legislators are understanding the needs and the wants of Hoosiers who are age 50 and over and we actually have 830,000 AARP members here in the state of Indiana. So it’s an important voice and we’re over there raising it,” Lyle explained.

Lyle said one of the important pieces of legislation they’re working on is called the “Work and Save Plan,” which would help Hoosiers save for retirement without a 401(k) or other savings plan offered by their employer. The legislation, offered by Senator Greg Walker from Columbus, would help some 1.4 million Hoosiers who are employed, but without a retirement savings plan.

“So what Senate Bill 66 would do is to create a state-backed savings vehicle. So a worker could take however much he or she wanted to on a weekly or a monthly basis and save that in a state-backed retirement savings plan that would be managed and administered by the state,” Lyle said.

She said it’s a great option that appeals to both the state and workers, alleviating stress on both sides. The bill moved through the Senate Pensions and Labor Committee on a vote of 6–0 last week.

Lyle explained they are also working on another piece of legislation that would impact family caregivers: those who step up to take care of their family, whether it’s helping them pay bills, doing household chores, or even providing their physical care.

“This is something that is probably more widespread than most people realize; we have 1.3 million family caregivers in the state of Indiana, so it’s huge. And these folks, when they’re providing the care for mom and dad, I think it’s a labor of love for most of them but it also does have some financial impacts and some emotional impacts and so we just want to do a little something to make sure that the state is recognizing the contribution of family caregivers,” said Lyle.

The legislation would provide up to a $500 tax credit for family caregivers to help offset expenses involved in caretaking.

Finally, she said they are working on a proposal called “Complete Streets,” which would help build pedestrian access and bike lanes and provide opportunities to connect into mass transit, ensuring people can get around regardless of whether or not they have a vehicle.