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Older voters want text driving ban, no nukes recovery and sales tax parity

Banning texting while driving, providing adequate home and community-based long-term care services and closing the loophole that allows online retailers to have an unfair advantage in their competition against bricks-and-mortar stores are three of the top legislative priorities for Florida voters age 50 and over, regardless of party affiliation,  according to a new AARP survey.

The most “eye-popping” figure: Ninety-three percent of older voters want to prohibit texting while driving, AARP Florida State Director Jeff Johnson said at a press conference with reporters on Monday. The AARP survey of 880 voters 50 and over found that “everyone’s in agreement,” on this issue.

The Legislature will again be considering efforts to ban texting while driving. A measure on the ban (SB 52) is scheduled for discussion at the Senate Transportation Committee meeting on Wednesday.

 “We hopeful that as our elected officials see the results of this survey, and as I’m sure they’ve been hearing from their constituents, they think about ways that they can work together on these issues rather than letting things resolve into partisan bickering,” Johnson said.

Florida voters age 50 and over made up 40 percent of the electorate in 2012, and as a group, 70 percent of them turn out in every election, AARP figures show.  

The top priority of the AARP this legislative session will be expanding Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act, which would provide eligibility to those persons with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal povery level.

AARP’s 2.8 million members in Florida are concerned about enforcing the quality of care in long-term care facilities and providing community-based care for people who want to stay at home, “which is what they prefer in most cases anyway,” Johnson said. Nearly half of the survey’s respondents said it was “very or somewhat likely” that someone in their family would need some type of long-term care in the next five years.

In other results, sixty percent of voters also oppose current laws allowing utility companies to charge consumers in advance for nuclear-powered plants in advance even though they may never be built.

-- Rochelle Koff