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March 8, 2013

Locals lobby for seniors in Atlanta

ATLANTA — A dozen Milledgeville residents traveled Thursday to the Georgia State Capitol to support proposed legislation that would make it a felony to exploit or abuse seniors.

House Bill 78, which would make it a felony for someone to knowingly and willfully exploit disabled adults or seniors, passed the Georgia House of Representatives unanimously, 166-0. The bill moves now to the Georgia Senate. Both physical and financial abuse would be covered under HB 78. The bill also increases the number of people who would be legally required to report such abuse.

“The abuse of elders, both physical and financial, is growing. And with an increasingly elderly population, we worry that the number of cases can only rise. We applaud the House for taking a huge step forward in strengthening protections for our seniors,” said Barbara Jackson-Van, who led Thursday’s delegation of AARP members from Milledgeville. “We hope the Senate will act quickly to make these new protections law.”

The Milledgeville residents, all members of Milledgeville Chapter of AARP, took time to speak out to area legislators on other issues as well. They urged area legislators to stand firm against proposed cuts in the Georgia state Adult Protective Services that are already in place to guard seniors. Unless proposed cuts are restored, more than $500,000 in funding for Adult Protective Services will be lost. The money funds 17 full-time-equivalent positions service 1,775 vulnerable older adults.

Jackson-Van and others met with state Sen. Burt Jones (R-Jackson) and with state Rep. E. Culver “Rusty” Kidd (I-Milledgeville).

Accompanying Jackson-Van to the Capitol Thursday to speak out were fellow Milledgeville residents Ella Marie Davis, Mozelle Griffin, William Holt, Sharon Hurt, Mary Jackson, Alva Lewis, Agnes McMullen, Lucy Stewart, and Evelyn Wright; Mozella Griffin-Hill of Hardwick; and Robert Adams of Molena.

They traveled to the Capitol Thursday as part of AARP’s Three Weeks at the Capitol lobbying effort. The annual campaign, which begins in late February and continues through mid-March, gives AARP residents from around the state the opportunity to speak to their representatives at the Capitol on issues that matter most to them.

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