SENATE COMMITTEE ON AGING
The retired educator and single mom had to refinance her home to pay Rx bills
by Dena Bunis, AARP, March 12, 2019
Pam Holt believed she had played by the rules and planned smartly for her retirement. Then cancer struck. After a stem cell transplant, there was a medicine that would, she hoped, put her into remission. The only catch: The drug would cost her more than $11,000 a year.
Holt, who lives in Granger, Ind. (a suburb of South Bend), was widowed at age 40 and raised three children on her own. She was an elementary school teacher, then an assistant principal and principal. In 2016, after she had retired, she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable but treatable blood cancer. Medicare paid for the stem cell transplant. Then she found out what her cancer medicine would cost.
After 8 years of darkness and austerity, they had a productive legislature – thanks to the recent election and a lot of oil & gas extraction revenue. Negotiation and compromise – what a concept – got some very good laws made, including :
Now the part-time legislature goes home until 2020, to live under the laws they made.
Massive new funding for K-12 (some in salaries, but most for needed supports, programs)
NM to all renewable electricity by 2045 – with backup plants using natural gas generation – last coal plant to be shut.
State minimum wage to from current 7.50 to $12 over three years – no inflation adjustment, maybe next time.
New higher tax bracket for wealthiest, over $200K
Automatic voter registration at motor vehicle dept + we will have Election Day registration
Background checks for all gun sales including private
Marijuana possession decriminalized for half an ounce or less, $50 civil fine
Money for long-neglected roads and highways!
A fat little check for each lawmaker, to dole out to capital projects in their district
The punitive teacher/principal eval system brought in from Jeb Bush/FL ends with this cycle. Schools also will no longer be publicly humiliated with A-F grades.
Now each school will have a progress dashboard on the web.
No more closing “failing” schools – instead, support, support, support.
Extended School Year plus more help for neediest kids.
Funded additional days for teacher collaboration and PD.
Legislature finally nixed local RTW laws, which are clearly in violation of their state Constitution.
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