Funding for nutrition, meals top Silver Haired Legislature proposals

Date: November 8, 2017 | Category: News

The Silver Haired Legislature has named as its top priority a dedicated funding stream for services for older Missourians. The legalization of medical marijuana is also among the top five priorities.
The Silver Haired Legislature is an advisory body of citizens 60 or older who volunteer to advocate for Missouri’s older adults.
The Silver Haired Legislature (SHL) met in October at the Capitol in Jefferson City for a model session of the Missouri Legislature. The SHL Senate included 26 seniors and the SHL House had 82 members. Among them were 15 members and one alternate for the Care Connection for Aging Services delegation, which represented seniors from 13 West Central Missouri counties.
The SHL will advocate for its proposals when the General Assembly meets in 2018.
The No. 1 proposal, the establishment of a Senior Services Growth and Development Program, was first brought to the General Assembly with the support of the Missouri Association of Area Agencies on Aging last session.
The funding would help address the growth in the population of older Missourians and the decline in state funding for senior programs.
The measure was considered in committee but not brought to a vote by the General Assembly last session; it is expected to be brought before the Legislature in 2018.
The proposal calls for a small portion of an existing insurance premium tax to be dedicated to senior programs. The fund would be used by the state’s area agencies on aging for enhancing senior services. The proposal would not require a tax increase but would instead dedicate a portion of the existing tax.
The other SHL proposals would:
–Restore funding that was cut this year to the Missouri Rx program, which provides subsidies to seniors to help them pay for medications. The Legislature made changes last summer that resulted in the loss of benefits for 60,000-plus seniors. The SHL is calling for restoration of benefits to their previous levels.
–Increase by $3 million the funding for meals served at the senior center dining rooms and delivered to the homebound. The increase would help cover rising costs of purchasing food, replacing equipment, meeting operating expenses, and finding volunteers and/or staff to deliver home-delivered meals. In recent years, agencies have seen increasing need and decreasing state funds.
–Maintain the Missouri Property Tax Credit known as the Circuit Breaker, which since 1973 has provided low-income qualifying seniors a small tax rebate. This program was intended to encourage seniors to continue living in their own homes. In its last session, the Legislature considered eliminating the benefit for people who rent their homes. The SHL opposes any such changes to the program.
–Legalize the use of medical marijuana in Missouri. This proposal would have Missouri join 27 other states in approval of medical marijuana. The SHL proposal points to “overwhelming evidence of medical benefits” of marijuana for conditions such as pain, inflammation, seizures, and muscle control ailments, as well as nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy treatments. It would call on the state Department of Health and Senior Services to develop guidelines for doctors, as well as regulatory procedures over growers and dispensaries.
The Silver-Haired Legislature delegates are elected from each of Missouri’s 10 area agencies on aging.
Here is a list of the Care Connection Silver-Haired Legislature membership:
Shirley D. Ross, of Lexington, (Region 1) represents Lafayette, Carroll, Chariton and Saline
Nancy Maxwell, of Holden (Region 2) represents Johnson, Pettis, Henry and Benton
Judith Ball, of Adrian (Region 3) represents Hickory, Bates, Cedar, Vernon and St. Clair counties.
Edith Dilley, of Butler, represents Bates County.
Cynthia Smith, of Warsaw, represents Benton County.
Donald Brockmeier, of Carrollton, represents Carroll County.
Larry Pursley, of Stockton, represents Cedar County.
Pamelia Tietjens, of Brunswick, represents Chariton County.
Larry Steinhauser, of Clinton, represents Henry County.
William V. Arnold, of Preston, represents Hickory and St. Clair counties.
Dee Kerr, of Warrensburg, represents Johnson County.
Sue Foster, of LaMonte, represents Pettis County.
Elaine Bagnell, of Blackburn, represents Saline County.
Marlene Moran, of Sheldon, represents Vernon County.
The representative seat in Lafayette County is vacant, but alternate Charles Bagnell represented that county.
Caption for the group photo:
The Care Connection for Aging Services Silver Haired Legislature delegation is front, from left: Pamelia Tietjens, Sue Foster, Care Connection Regional Director Deb Krieger, Cynthia Smith, Dee Kerr, Elaine Bagnell, Edith Dilley, Judith Ball, of Adrian, and Alternate Susan Arnold. Back from left: Nancy Maxwell, Shirley Ross, Larry Pursley, William Arnold, Marlene Moran, Alternate Charles Bagnell, Donald Brockmeier and Larry Steinhauser.