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Silver Haired Legislature supports senior issues
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Janice Walker, Barton Countys Silver Haired Legislator, speaks to the Kansas Legislature in this file photo from the fall of 2015. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

The Executive Board of the Silver Haired Legislature will take several issues to Topeka next month, said Janice Walker, Barton County’s representative.
Walker, Great Bend, was reappointed to her second two-year term on the SHL in April after submitting a $25 filing fee.
In the spring and early summer, the SHL members 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, Walker said. The finalists will be presented to the entire SHL membership for consideration at the annual conference in Topeka on October 3-5, which Walker plans to attend.
From a list of 28 local issues initially brought to the executive board, a total of eight were selected. 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
• Urging the Kansas State Legislature to fund a Cost Of Living Allowance (COLA) for current KPERS recipients.
The four new bills and resolutions are:
• 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
• 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.