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The California Senior Legislature Announces Top Legislative Priorities for 2015

(Sacramento, CA. October 30, 2014) The California Senior Legislature (CSL) adjourned its 34th Annual Legislative Session on Thursday afternoon and will announce the Top Ten State Legislative Proposals and Top Four Federal proposals at a news conference at the State Capitol today.

The following were listed as the top ten State Legislative proposals:

• The Prescriptions: Purpose of Medication Labeling proposal would require all prescribers to include the purpose of the medication in prescriptions so that the prescription drug label may include that purpose, unless the patient or the prescriber requests this information be omitted. This proposal was authored by Marcia Gould of West Hills.

• The Personal Income Tax : Voluntary Contribution proposal would allow filers of corporate tax return form 100 and partnership return form 565 to contribute amounts in excess of their tax liability for the support of the California Senior Legislature Fund and that an option be included on the tax return authorizing the Franchise Tax Board to provide participating funds with donor contact information in order to thank donors and provide them with information about the fund or program. The proposal was authored by Henry Borenstein of Los Angeles.

• The Silver Alert Program: This proposal would permanently delete the repeal of the existing Silver Alert program. The proposal was authored by Joseph Murphy of Tracy

• The California Death with Dignity Act would authorize adult California residents who are mentally competent and terminally ill to make a request and receive medication for the purpose of ending their lives in a humane and dignified manner as specified, not classify any action pursuant to the act a suicide or homicide; provide immunity from civil or criminal liability or professional disciplinary action to any person, hospital or health care facility that complies in good faith with the act and make other clarifying changes, as specified. This proposal was authored by Kenneth Ryan of Mt. Shasta.

• The Health Care: Dementia Training proposal would require paramedics, Emergency Medical technicians, and hospital staff to receive, as part of their continuing education, dementia training from specified entities. The proposal was authored by Garilee Cave of Los Osos.

• Fall Risk Screening Education for Health would require the of Public Health Department t develop and implement a fall risk screening education program aimed at health care providers and administrators, require the State Department of Public Health to work with the California Medical Association to have fall risk reduction, fall risk screenings, and assessments made part of the required continuing education for physicians, and encourage health care providers to conduct a simple fall risk screening on all older adult patients to ascertain which patients should be referred for more in=depth assessments to determine the causes of their elevated fall risks. This proposal was authored by Colleen Campbell of Petaluma.

• A proposal related to Identify Theft would impose a 2-year punishment enhancement for a felony conviction of these provisions when the crime is against a victim who is 65 years of age or older. The proposal was authored by Dieter Kammerer of Fountain Valley.

• A proposal regarding Elder Friendly Courts would require an elder-friendly court to be established in each county in California. The proposal was authored by Lauren Rolfe of Suisun City.

• The Medi-Cal Long Term Care: Personal Needs Allowance proposal would increase the personal needs allowance from $35 to $80 per month and annually adjust the personal needs allowance by the same percentage as the Consumer Price Index. The proposal was authored by Sue Walker of Lake Arrowhead.

• The Alzheimer Disease: Prevention and Early Intervention Program would require funds be made available, or clarify that mental health services act funds may be used, for programs that provide education, prevention, and early intervention programs and services with respect to Alzheimer’s Disease. This proposal was authored by Alan Bortel of Tiburon.

The following were the top four Federal Proposals:

• The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs proposal would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to identify and acknowledge veterans who participated in weapons testing programs and special operations, and to dedicate services specifically to assist those veterans. This proposal was authored by Jack Alderson of Fortuna.

• The Public Housing Priority for Senior Veterans proposal would give priority for public housing assistance to eligible seniors who are honorably discharged veterans. Bruce Steir of San Francisco authored this proposal.

• A proposal requesting the Elder Justice Act be fully funded as quickly as possible and appropriate $25,000,000 in the President’s 2015-16 fiscal year budget proposal was authored by Gerald Richards of Hercules.

• The Comprehensive Drug Trial Act proposal requires clinical drug and medical device trials regulated by the Food and Drug Administration to be conducted in a manner that eliminates upper age limits for study inclusion, reduces the use of eligibility criteria that disproportionately affect older patients, and encourages adherence to recommended analytical methods for evaluating treatments effects by age. This proposal was authored by Gerald Richards of Hercules.

Members of the CSL commented that it was difficult to decide upon the top ten proposals as there were so many that were of importance and well written. Of the sixty proposals submitted this year, fifty two of them addressed reducing senior poverty in some form or another, whether it be housing, transportation, reducing falls and early identification of dementias, there was a focus on keeping the senior well, protected and financially secure.

For additional information regarding the status of CSL proposals or upcoming events visit the website at www.4csl.org.
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MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
For more information contact Senior Senator Lauren Rolfe, newly elected Joint Rules Committee Chair at the Sacramento Office at (916) 552-8056.