The Texas Silver-Haired Legislature met Sept. 10-14 in College Station to review the accomplishments of TSHL during the 80th session of the Texas Legislature. Many of the proposals drafted by TSHL were written into law. The 116-member organization, representing all sections of the state, concerns itself primarily with suggested legislation impacting the senior citizens of Texas, but also covers recommended law for the general population.

Typical of the issues covered by TSHL include all state tax matters, criminal justice, public education, geriatric education, insurance, natural resources, and state affairs. During the 80th session of the Texas Legislature, the Silver-Haired Legislature wrote and promoted 40 priorities which it drafted and presented testimony on. Of the 40 priorities we established, 34 were signed by the Governor and became law.

One of the more important laws raised the minimum personal allowance for nursing home residents from $45 to $60 per month. This may not seem very important to those outside the nursing homes, but the additional $15 will make considerable difference in the lifestyle of the resident.

One of the other laws establishes the “Silver Alert, which is designed after the “Amber Alert. More and more, as the population ages, seniors have a tendency to wander off, becoming lost and confused. Ways of locating the elderly who might become disoriented are being are now being put into place. The organization also made extensive studies of the proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution. These will be voted on in November. The Silver-Haired

Legislature has made position statements on the 16 proposed constitutional amendments. We urge voters to study the proposed amendments and select carefully.

Intensive education programs were presented to the TSHL membership in organizational structure (of TSHL), public speaking, leadership, grant writing, and working with the media. A training handbook was developed by the members of the Training Committee and was adopted by the general membership. The TSHL will meet again in December, in Austin, to prepare for the 81st session of the Texas Legislature, writing and prioritizing drafts of resolutions of laws we wish the Legislature to consider.