The Kansas Silver Haired Legislature is busy preparing for its 38th Annual Session, but with a decidedly different format than normal due to the COVID-19 situation.
Normally, the KSHL meets for three days in early October each year, with the second and third days spent at the State Capitol in Topeka. While at the Capitol, the delegates debate and discuss the issues that have been presented to them by their executive board from the July Executive Board meeting. Those issues passed out of the various committees on Wednesday morning are again debated and discussed Wednesday afternoon. Any issue that passes the Wednesday afternoon vote is then voted on yet again, with no discussion or debate, on Thursday morning for final passage.
However, this year due to the pandemic, the Annual Session will be reduced to just one day – Wednesday, October 7, at both the Jayhawk Area Agency on Aging in Topeka for those who choose to attend in person, or by Zoom for those who prefer to attend virtually. The KSHL will become a “Committee of the Whole” that morning, where the three issues brought to the full SHL body will be discussed and debated, with a preliminary vote taken at that time. Any issue that favorably passes that vote will then be brought back to the afternoon session, where the issue will be voted on for final passage. If an issue is favorably passed by both votes, that issue will then be presented to the Kansas Legislature at the 2021 Legislative Session beginning in January of 2021.
This year’s issues
The three issues that will be presented to the KSHL at the Annual Session are:
• Expansion of Medicaid in Kansas
• Full funding of the Senior Care Act (which provides limited funding for those seniors who qualify, allowing them to receive services in their own home instead of having to move into a nursing home). The bill was passed by the 2020 Kansas Legislature, but was subsequently removed due to the state’s financial situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, reducing funding back to previous levels.
• Continued support for the Kansas Department of Transportation’s community-based public transportation program, and giving backing to KDOT in its proposed expansion of that program throughout Kansas.
Every county in Kansas plus 20 additional members from the four most-populous counties have a voice in the KSHL. Kansas presently has over 650,000 senior citizens with more joining the ranks daily. The KSHL’s purpose is to inform Kansas Legislators of senior concerns and priorities. The KSHL works with the Kansas Legislature to make sure legislators understand the importance of these issues to Kansas seniors. Visit Kansas-SHL.org to learn more about the Kansas Silver Haired Legislature.
Walker to retire as Barton County rep
Janice Walker, Great Bend, has served as the Silver Haired Legislature representative for Barton County since 2015. Now, she is looking for someone to take her place as she retires from the volunteer position.
“I want to have interested persons call me,” she said. “The interested person could join me at the (KSHL) Zoom meeting on Oct. 7 at my home.” She is ready to retire and would like to be contacted by someone who is interested in taking her place.
Individuals can file for candidacy during the first part of 2021. Once must be aged 60 or over and be a registered voter. The term of office is for two years and members may file for re-election. Call Ms. Walker at 620-617-4568 for more information.