Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Alaska House of Representatives on Friday passed House Bill 96 with broad bipartisan support on a 35-to-4 vote.
The legislation would block rate increases and keep Pioneer Homes affordable by limiting future cost increases to match inflation.
“Pioneer Homes enable the elders who built our state to live out their later years in Alaska and to maintain dignity,” said Rep. Laddie Shaw (R-Anchorage), a co-sponsor of the bill who championed the proposal throughout the committee process and during the House floor session before the final vote. “Especially as our population ages, we must ensure Pioneer Homes remain high-quality, affordable, and sustainable financially. This bill is an important step in that direction.”
“Elders deserve our support as they age,” said Rep. Zack Fields (D-Anchorage), who sponsored H.B. 96. “They should not face the unnecessary stress of massive, unexpected rate increases. Instead, as this bill establishes, any changes to rates or services should be made on a regular and methodological basis.”
The Pioneer Homes have been a cornerstone of Alaskan elder care since 1913. They represent a unique approach to providing care for elders and are an important factor in allowing Alaskans of all demographics to age in place in their home state.
Six communities have Pioneer Homes, and the Palmer Pioneer Home was designated in 2007 as the Alaska Veterans and Pioneers Home due to the work of Rep. Shaw when he was commissioner of the Department of Military and Veteran’s Affairs.
H.B. 96 now moves to the Senate for consideration.