Legislative Notebook: Midstate seniors turn lobbyist

March 22, 2012 

ATLANTA -- About 20 members of AARP chapters in Houston and Macon counties took their annual trip to the state Capitol on Thursday to meet their legislators and talk politics.

The AARP is fighting several bills, including a cut to state unemployment payments, on the grounds that unemployed people in their 50s, 60s and older take longer to find new work. They’re also against a move which they predict would be expensive, to require people receiving certain public assistance to engage in “personal growth activities.”

What interested Oneida Nasser, of Warner Robins, the most were several draft state budget lines that AARP supports, which together would appropriate more than $600,000 to send respite help to caregivers of seniors living at home.

It could be useful if she or her husband need to care for each other, she said, especially because they do not want to impose on their children.

“It would be nice not to have to depend on anybody,” Oneida said.

But the lobbying fizzled a bit. With just four days left in the session, many legislators are frantically bargaining to move bills at the last minute and had little time to talk. The budget must be settled and approved by both the state House of Representatives and Senate by next Thursday.

Montezuma lawmaker hospitalized

State Rep. Lynmore James, D-Montezuma, was taken by ambulance to an Atlanta hospital Thursday, after he reported to the Capitol’s first aid station complaining of feeling ill.

It’s the second Atlanta hospitalization for James, 74, this year. He was expected to stay in the hospital overnight for observation.

-- Compiled by Maggie Lee

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