The executive board of the Silver Haired Legislature held their annual mid-summer issues meeting on July 31 in Salina.
The executive board is composed of the SHL chairperson from each of the 11 PSA districts across Kansas, plus the officers of the overall membership. These include the speaker, speaker pro tem and the floor leader.
Jay Rowh, Mitchell County SHL representative and outgoing executive board president, chaired the meeting.
The meeting began with the bi-annual election of the officers of the executive board.
In the spring and early summer, the SHL members within each of the 11 PSA districts meet to decide what issues are important to senior citizens in their districts. These issues are then brought to the state issues meeting, where they are discussed, debated and whittled down to a select few. The resulting finalists will be presented to the entire SHL membership for their consideration at the annual conference on Oct. 1-3 in Topeka.
A total of 26 local issues were initially brought to the board. From this list, seven issues were selected to be presented to the full membership. These issues will be forwarded in the form of resolutions, as they are carryover bills from the 2019 Kansas Legislative Session. Six of these measures were SHL carryovers from last year: support for Medicaid expansion; continued support for the KDOT Rural Public Transportation program; support for the state to fully fund KPERS as the law stipulates, and to pass a Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) for KPERS beneficiaries; protect grandparents rights in child custody and visitation cases, plus providing financial assistance in guardianship matters; support for the removal of sales tax on food; and support for legalizing the sale of medicinal cannabis in Kansas.
The one new resolution deals with support or expansion of the Senior Care Act in Kansas, the act that allows qualifying seniors to stay in their own homes with just a minimum of financial support.
The entire SHL membership will discuss and debate these resolutions in committee work at the annual session of the full Silver Haired Legislature in October in Topeka. Those measures successfully passed out of committee will then face deliberation by the full SHL body, and if approved, will then be forwarded on to the Kansas Legislature in their 2020 legislative session for consideration with SHL support.
The Silver Haired Legislators represent the more than 600,000 Kansas seniors above the age of 60, most of whom vote in local, state and national elections. The SHL is just one of the ways their collective voice can be heard.
For information on the Silver Haired Legislature, visit Kansas-shl.org.