The Executive Board of the Silver Haired Legislature held their mid-summer issues meeting on Wednesday, July 26th, 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 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 3-5.
A total of 28 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. Four of these measures were carryovers from last year: Support for Medicaid Expansion; Continued support for the KDOT Rural Transportation program; Support for the State of Kansas to fully fund KPERS as the law stipulates, and to not use KPERS funds as a “bank” for the state general fund; and Urging the Kansas State Legislature to fund a Cost Of Living Allowance (COLA) for current KPERS recipients.
The four new bills and resolutions include: Support for the legislature to pass property tax relief for qualifying, low income Senior Citizens; Repeal of the 2016 Property Tax Lid bill which is creating difficulties for our county and city governments; An expansion of the “Grandparents Rights” bill, making sure the concerns of the grandparents are considered in child custody cases; And a tightening of the current “uninsured motorist” law, thereby giving better protection to the general public when involved in an accident with someone not having vehicle liability insurance.
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.