State Rep. Stratton Bone, D-Lebanon, and the Tennessee House of Representatives unanimously passed on Thursday the second of four bills designed to expand retirement opportunities for seniors in Tennessee.
“The seniors of today are living longer and stronger than those just 20 or 30years ago and, as a state, we have a responsibility to provide our greatest generation with different options in how they want to spend retirement,” Bone said.
Last year, under the “Long-Term Care Community Choices Act of 2008,” the Legislature charged the Tennessee Department of Finance & Administration and Tennessee Department of Health to create a foundation for providing Tennessee’s seniors with the information and necessary resources for choosing the best retirement options.
This year’s “Adult Care Home Act of 2009” builds on that foundation by creating standards of practice and review for a new kind of residential alternative: Level 2 Adult Care Homes. Residents who qualify under the bill are more critical need-based members who are either ventilator-dependent or who have suffered a traumatic brain injury.
“As we have continued to build on Tennessee long-term care system, the focus has been first to implement a program that can provide choices to those most in need,” Bone said. “With this new legislation, I believe we have taken that step and can now start looking to expand even further.”
Under the new guidelines, level 2 adult care homes are small, homelike settings in local communities that deliver licensed care from residential managers who are licensed professionals. Providers with ventilator dependent residents must be doctors, nurses or respiratory therapists. For those suffering from a traumatic brain injury that list expands to include licensed rehabilitation or mental health professionals. Finally, these homes may have no more than five residents living in the home at one time.
“Adult care homes are programs that are already seeing great success in other states around the country,” Bone said. “These new homes will help improve the choices senior Tennesseans have when it comes to retirement.”
The legislation was expected to pass quickly through the Senate, ready for signature before the end of session.
House nods Tennessee Clean Energy Future Act
Also on Thursday, the House overwhelmingly passed the “Tennessee Clean Energy Future Act,” a bill designed to reduce Tennessee energy consumption as well as help expand opportunities to bring more green technology jobs to the state.
“Green legislation is more than just being good for the environment,” Bone said. “This bill is about saving taxpayers money, expanding job opportunities for unemployed Tennesseans and doing our part for national security by making Tennessee more energy independent.”
Under the new bill, state government will attempt to lead by renovating state building to be more energy efficient, replacing the state’s aging car fleet with alternative fuel and energy efficient vehicles, and providing tax incentives to green technology companies that relocate to Tennessee.
“The more we cut down on our state’s energy use, the more savings we can hopefully put back in the pockets of working Tennesseans,” Bone said. “These improvements to state government mean more efficient building and cars and continue to put Tennessee at the forefront of green technology.”
In addition to the new state standards, the bill also encourages residential standards be placed on all new home constructions in Tennessee. The legislation is subject to the will of local governments, so any county or city commission not wanting to adopt the energy-efficient requirements can opt out of the program. With Tennessee being one of the top states for wasted residential energy use, the standards are expected to greatly reduce the cost on new homeowners.
“These residential standards mean lower energy bills, safer construction and better resale value in the future,” he said. “It’s a win for the environment, for the homeowner and the state of Tennessee.”
The House version of the bill now heads back to the Senate.