The Kansas Silver Haired Legislature has finished a busy spring and summer season, and will now begin finalizing preparations for their Annual Session this October in Topeka. With their bi-annual organizational meeting in May, where their new officers are elected, and their Executive Board Issues meeting this past week in Salina, the SHL has completed the requirements from their By-Laws, and will forward the results to the entire SHL body while in Topeka.
The Organization meeting was held at the Junction City Senior Center in May, with officers for both the Executive Board and the full organization being elected. Officers for the SHL included Chuck Schmidt (Sedgwick County) as the new Speaker, Randall Hardy (Saline County) as the Speaker Pro Tem, Jay Rowh (Mitchell County) as Floor Leader, Donna Lehane (Sedgwick County) returning as the Secretary, and Gary Scott (Johnson County) continuing to serve as the Treasurer. The officers of the Executive Board were then elected. Ross Boelling (Dickinson County) will serve as the President, Katy Hoffman (Johnson County) as the new 1st Vice-President, and Thomas Gordon (Wyandotte County) will serve as the 2nd Vice-President. Each of these individuals will serve a two-year term.
The Executive Board Issues Meeting was held on Thursday, July 15th, at the Salina Senior Center. Each spring, the eleven regions of the Silver Haired Legislature hold separate meetings to determine what issues are important to Senior Citizens in their own region. All of these issues are then brought to the Executive Board meeting by the chair for those regions, with the entire Executive Board then discussing and debating these issues with the intention of condensing them into the few issues to be presented to the entire delegate assembly in Topeka. Most years a total of 28-32 issues are brought to the Board, but this year a whopping 64 issues were presented. By the end of the day, a total of seven were determined to be moved forward to the Annual Session- six as resolutions, and one as a bill.
The seven issues to be presented are:
- Expansion of Broadband across Kansas
- Passage of Medicaid Expansion
- Support for the KDOT Public Transportation Program
- Continued Full Funding of the KPERS program by the State of Kansas
- Support SB 76 (Golden Years Bill) which advocates for property tax relief for qualifying Seniors in Kansas
- Support for Medical Cannabis
- Grandparents Rights bill to lower the age for qualifying grandparents to 40 years of age, and monetary reimbursement for those who take on the guardianship of their grandchildren.
The SHL delegates at the Annual Session will study, debate, and discuss these seven issues over a three-day period of time, with those bills that are voted as passed then being forwarded to the Kansas Legislature when they begin their next term in January of 2022. The SHL will advocate for their passage, and will work with our Kansas Senators and Representatives for this to be achieved. For further information, check the SHL website at kansas-shl.org.