17th Texas Silver-Haired Legislature Holds Legislative Session

 Austin, TX: The 17th Texas Silver-Haired Legislature (TSHL) held its biennial legislative session from April 23 - 26 at the State Capitol. The TSHL holds these sessions in the years that the Texas Legislature is in recess. Over the course of four days, 65 elected TSHL legislators, representing senior constituents from across the state, introduce resolutions aimed at improving the lives of older Texans. TSHL members shepherd the resolutions through committee hearings, where they are approved, rejected, or revised. The standing TSHL committees include Criminal Justice, Education, Health and Human Resources, Human Services, Insurance, Retirement and Aging, Rural/Urban Affairs, State Affairs, and Utilities and Natural Resources.

Resolutions that survive both the committee hearings and a final review by the Legislative Action Committee are then brought to the Texas House floor for debate. The final slate of resolutions is then voted on to determine the TSHL Top 10 Resolutions which will represent the TSHL legislative priorities in the 86th Texas Legislative Session in 2019.

The top 10 TSHL resolutions for 2019 address retired educators' pensions and insurance benefits, funding of “Meals on Wheels”, medical cannabis, Medicaid personal allowance for long-term care and assisted living residents, frauds committed against older Texans, truth-in-advertising for reverse mortgages, healthcare access by Telemedicine, and FBI background checks for nurses' aides and LVN's working in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and home healthcare.

TSHL members will present copies of the 2018 TSHL Legislative Report booklet to Governor Abbott and the Texas legislators prior to the 2019 Texas Legislative Session. The top 10 TSHL priority resolutions, listed in rank order, are attached.

17th Texas Silver-Haired Legislature Presents Top Legislative Priorities for 2019

Of 66 resolutions the 17th Texas Silver-Haired Legislature considered this April, 48 passed. Following, in rank order, are the top 10 priorities for the 86th Texas Legislature in 2019:

1.   Increase and maintain financial strength of the TRS Defined-Benefit Pension Plan.

2.   Preserve or increase funding for home-delivered meals.

3.   Promote evidence-based testing of cannabis and allow licensed physicians to prescribe medical cannabis without fear of prosecution.

4.   Reform TRS-Care by increasing the state’s contribution rate (committed funding).

5.   Increase personal needs allowance for Medicaid residents in nursing homes.

6.   Enhance criminal degree and fines for those who perpetrate internet fraud against seniors.

7.   Reject conversion of TRS pension from defined-benefit to defined-contribution plan.

8.   Hold Companies selling reverse mortgages to the Standard of Truth in Advertising

9.   Increase access to healthcare for seniors via telemedicine.

10. Require FBI background checks for nurses’ aides and LVN’s in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and home health companies.

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The 69th Texas Legislature created the Texas Silver-Haired Legislature in April 1985 to address the needs and concerns of senior citizens in Texas through the legislative process. Since that time, more than 200 bills have passed the Texas Legislature that were directly influenced by the work of the TSHL. Visit www.txshl.com for more information.