TOPEKA — Harvey County State Senator Carolyn McGinn was honored as Legislator of the Year by the Kansas Silver Haired Legislature (KSHL), at their annual October legislative session. She shared the recognition with Topeka Senator Vicki Schmidt.
They were chosen for their strong support of senior issues, including approval of $5 million for financial support for grandparents who become foster parents for their grandchildren. The appropriation also includes support for other family members, such as aunts and uncles who are awarded placement of children to keep them out of the foster care system.
KSHL representative Janice Walker, Great Bend, said the KSHL also passed nine resolutions on senior issues which will be passed on to the Kansas Legislature in January 2019. They include a resolution urging the Legislature and Governor to fully fund all obligations to the state employee retirement program, known as KPERS and to stop delaying KPERS employer contribution payments. The delegates also passed a resolution urging the state to fund a cost-of-living adjustment for KPERS retirees.
Also, the KSHL is continuing their support for the expansion of Medicaid in Kansas; support for community based transportation for senior citizens and for full funding for the Senior Care Act, which allows older Kansans to remain in their own homes instead of having to move into nursing facilities at a much higher cost to the state. Another resolution urges the state to continue to protect grandparent rights, especially when considering the temporary placement, legal guardianship and adoption of grandchildren who are in need of care.
Two revenue issues were among the resolutions passed at the KSHL legislative session. The body is urging the state to support legislation to authorize statewide sports wagering and to direct the revenue gained to senior citizen social service programs, especially the Kansas Senior Care Act. The body also urges the state to exempt food purchases from sales tax, and to replace that revenue with revenue from internet sales taxes.
Since many Kansas senior citizens suffer from chronic pain conditions, including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, fibromyalgia, and endometriosis; nausea resulting from cancer treatments and other conditions; and post-traumatic stress disorder, especially in military veterans the KSHL urges the legislature to legalize expanded medical uses of cannabis. This resolution also acknowledges the fact that thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have legalized the medical use of cannabis under various circumstances and that many Kansas parents have moved to other states where cannabis treatments are legal and available.
The overwhelmingly positive votes for all of this year’s resolutions is evidence of the statewide support of these issues, said, Janice Walker, Barton county representative from Southwest Kansas for the KSHL. Unfortunately, not all of the 28 counties in our large Southwest area are represented says Walker. The 12 counties without representation are Comanche, Edwards, Gray, Haskell, Kiowa, Pratt, Rush, Scott, Seward, Stafford, Stanton and Wichita. Interested senior citizens (60 years and older) who wish to represent those counties can contact the Southwest Kansas Area Agency on Aging in Dodge City at 620-225-8230. The SWKAA is responsible for the election process.