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WHAT OTHERS SAY: Representative, deliberative and decisive

Friday, October 12, 2012 | 4:02 p.m. CDT

The legislature is in session.

Although these senators and representatives are not empowered to enact laws, their recommendations traditionally receive serious consideration.

Members of the Silver-Haired Legislature have convened at the Capitol. After meeting in caucuses and committees, they will concentrate today on formulating five priorities.

The Silver-Haired Legislature is linked to state government, and its procedures mirror some aspects of government.

The group is operated by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services through its 10 Area Agencies on Aging.

The agencies conduct elections each May at nutrition and senior centers to select three senators and 12 representatives, bringing the statewide total to 30 senators and 120 representatives.

Members must be at least 60 years old; all are volunteers who serve without pay.

During the October session, according to the department’s website, the duty of the Silver-Haired Legislature is to “present, debate and vote on a pre-prepared docket of bills and resolutions that concern legislation, which affects the lives of not only the elderly, but all Missouri citizens.”

The selected priorities become the group’s focus when the General Assembly convenes for its regular session in January.

The Silver-Haired Legislature has become a force in government, or — if you prefer the political vernacular — it wields clout.

The components of its clout are basic; they include imitation — a form of flattery — and distillation.

The Silver-Haired Legislature, like the Missouri Legislature, is designed to be representative, deliberative and decisive.

In addition, the group’s singular voice is distillation not only of many — but of many who are frequent voters.

We await not only the recommended priorities, but the attention and deliberation they will attract in January.

Copyright Jefferson City News Tribune. Reprinted with permission. Questions? Contact Opinion editor Elizabeth Conner.


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