Silver Haired Legislature holds mock legislative session

Monday, November 1, 2004

The Silver Haired Legislature, an elected body of volunteer residents from all over the state, 60 years of age and older, met in Jefferson City recently for its 31st annual legislative session. Delegates promote conscientious legislative advocacy for Missouri's older adults.

Loretta A. Schneider, chairwoman and delegate for this area, attended the session, which set the following priorities: to provide adequate funding for home delivered meals and all meals at senior centers, close the drug benefit gap created by 2003 Medicare Act, provide funding for transportation for seniors and the disabled in rural areas, raise the asset level for those receiving Medicaid to $2,500, implement safeguards for payday loans and predatory lending.

Silver Haired Legislature elections are held annually in May at local area agencies on aging's nutrition or senior centers. Senior citizens elect three senators and 12 representatives from each of the 10 area agencies on aging. The legislators ascertain the needs of seniors in their districts. Bills and resolutions are then prepared for presentation at the statewide conference each fall.

At the fall mock legislative session members present, debate and vote on a docket of bills and legislation affecting the elderly and Missouri residents. Five bills with the highest priority are selected as the main focus in the Missouri Legislature for the upcoming year.

Those interested in becoming involved in the Silver Haired Legislature may call Ruth Dockins at the Area Agency on Aging: 335-3331. Upcoming plans to promote the organization include publishing a newsletter.

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