The South Carolina Silver Haired Legislature is a unicameral body with representatives from the counties of the state and was created in 1999 by the South Carolina General Assembly and signed into law by Governor James H. Hodges.
Persons who are interested in becoming a Silver Haired Legislator in 2013 may contact Central Midlands Area Agency on Aging at 803-376 -5390, extension No. 308 during the period from Jan. 2, 2013 – Feb. 8, 2013.
Sharon L. Seago, Aging Unit Director, Central Midlands Council of Governments, will discuss history, purpose, legislative priorities, organization, accomplishments and events of the South Carolina Silver Haired Legislature.
The organization’s history
Seniors in the state of Missouri formed the first Silver Haired Legislature in 1973. South Carolina Silver Haired Legislature was created in 1999 by the General Assembly initiated in the House of Representatives, and signed into law by Governor Hodges (Act 84, 6/11/99). Focus groups involved in the forming of the SCSHL were the S.C. Area Agencies of Aging Association, the S.C. Council on Aging Directors Association, the S.C. Federation of Older Americans, and the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Senior and Long Term Care.
The S.C. Silver Haired Legislature held its first organizational and orientation meeting for its members on July 14, 1999 at the Capital Senior Center in Columbia. All legislative sessions have since been held at the State Capitol in the Chamber of the S.C. House of Representatives.
About the organization
The unicameral body has representatives, all of whom are registered voters over the age of 60. Representatives are elected by counties on a ratio of one each per 5,000 South Carolinians over age sixty. There are 10 caucuses in S.C. Silver Haired Legislature. Margaret Brackett and George Burk, representatives from Newberry County, are active in Area No. 4, Central Midlands Caucus, meeting at Central Midlands Council of Governments, Columbia. The 10 caucuses work directly with the S.C. Area Agencies on Aging (AAA). Persons who are interested in becoming a Silver Haired Legislator may get in touch with Central Midlands Area Agency on Aging at 803-376-5390, extension No. 308. Applications are due Feb. 8, 2013.
Regional area caucuses meet throughout the year. Members of each caucus prepare resolutions to be presented to the Speaker, who then, based on topics, assigns them to six legislative committees. All representatives participate as the committees debate their resolutions and submit three from each committee to the Speaker. The resolutions are distributed to the Representatives for discussion, voting, and listing in priority order at the annual legislative session held each year in September. The final approved resolutions are presented to the S.C. General Assembly, the Governor, and others in South Carolina.
When the S.C. Silver Haired Legislature assembly is not in session, governance is by the Board of Directors, a 26 member group that includes the officers, the caucus chairs and one additional member from each caucus.
The S.C. Silver Haired Legislature was created:
• To identify issues, concerns and possible solutions for problems facing the aging population in South Carolina.
• To make recommendations to the Governor, General Assembly and various Departments and Agencies on Aging.
• To promote good government for all South Carolinians.
• To carry out all purposes and activities on a nonpartisan basis.
• To conduct general assembly sessions annually in the State Capitol.
A Legislator representing SCHL regularly attends the legislative sessions at the State Capitol to monitor SHL’s bills that are introduced and presented to the General Assembly and others, such as state agencies. Some legislation, from 10 to 15 bills, has our attention to support each year throughout the process.