The Executive Board of the Silver Haired Legislature held their annual mid-summer issues meeting on Wednesday, July 25th, in Salina. The Executive Board is composed of the SHL chairperson from each of the eleven PSA districts across the state of Kansas, plus the officers of the overall membership of the organization. These include the Speaker, Speaker Pro Tem, and the Floor Leader. Jay Rowh, Mitchell County SHL representative who is the president of the Executive Board, chaired the meeting.
In the spring and early summer, the SHL members within each of the eleven PSA districts meet to decide what issues are important to senior citizens in their district. 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 subsequently be presented to the entire SHL membership for their consideration at the annual conference in Topeka on October 2-4.
A total of 26 local issues were initially brought to the Executive Board. From this list, a total of eight issues were selected to be presented to the full membership in October. Some of these issues will be forwarded as actual bills, while the remainder will be in the form of resolutions. Five of these measures were carryovers from last year: Support for Medicaid Expansion; Continued support for the KDOT Rural Public Transportation program; Support for the State of Kansas 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, Visitation, and in Guardianship matters; and to Expand Motor Vehicle Liability Coverage, including Insurance Company’s mandatory reporting to the State of Kansas when coverage is dropped.
The three new bills and resolutions include: Continue Full Funding for the Senior Care Act, the act which allows Kansas Seniors to stay in their own homes with just an average of $250 per month in financial assistance; Tax Issues – remove Sales Tax on Food, and replace it with Sales Tax on Internet Purchases; and Support legislation for non-THC medical cannabis.
The next step in this process is for the entire SHL membership to discuss and debate these bills and resolutions in committee work at the Annual Session of the full Silver Haired Legislature this coming October in Topeka. Those measures successfully passed out of committee will then face deliberation by the full SHL body, and if subsequently approved, will then be forwarded on to the Kansas Legislature for consideration with SHL support. The Silver Haired Legislators represent the over 500,000 Kansas Seniors over 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 this, and other information on the Silver Haired Legislature, you are invited to view their new website www.kansas-shl.org.