This legislature was created in 1973 by a small group of seniors whose specific purpose was the advocate for senior issues, and the Missouri group was the first organization of its type in the United States.

Some of the earliest proposals passed into law include Exploitation of the Elderly, the MO Senior RX Program, implementation of elder abuse laws, and the deletion of sales tax on pharmaceuticals.

The Silver Haired Legislature (SHL) group is is a formally elected body of citizens 60 years of age and older that promote conscientious legislative advocacy for Missouri’s older adults. All members are volunteers who serve without pay.

Delegates are elected annually in May from each of Missouri’s ten Area Agencies on Aging, and all legislators meet annually for a model legislative session at the State Capitol to deliver five priority proposals.

SHL 2024 Top Five Legislative Priorities
  1. Increased Funding for Transportation to Provide Additional Options for Seniors
  2. Increased Accessibility to Public Buildings for Individuals with Disabilities
  3. Required Special Dementia Training in Long-Term Care Facilities
  4. Increase the Medicaid Personal Needs Allowance (PNA) to $100 Per Month with an Inflation Rider
  5. Money Recovered by MO HealthNet to be Returned to the MO HealthNet Program
SHL Interview: 50 Years of Successful Advocacy!

Interview with SHL member, Dorothy Knowles, who shares the wonderful story of SHL and impact on KY3 News, Springfield, MO.

Some of Missouri’s SHL accomplishments include:

1973 | Appropriations for transportation

1974 | “Circuit breaker” housing tax credit for seniors

1976 | Revision of the nursing home inspection law; Revision of   probate code; Appropriation for in-home services

1977 | Deletion of sales tax on pharmaceuticals

1982 | Revised guardianship code

1983 | Durable power of attorney to make healthcare decisions; Statutory recognition of Division of Aging and AAAs

1987 | Improvement of statutory lien law

1988 | Protection of volunteers from civil suits; Elder abuse law

1997 | Improvement of regulations for managed care and HMO’s; $3.2 million appropriation for home-delivered meals

1998 | Increased dependency deduction on Missouri income taxes; Revision of “circuit breaker” law

1999 | Pharmaceutical tax credits; Permanent funding for CLAIM

2000 | Addressed Financial Exploitation of the Elderly

2001 | Creation of a Department of Health & Senior Services

2002 | Creation of the Missouri Senior Rx Program 

2003 | Nursing Home Bill SB 556; Financial Support for the Missouri Senior Rx Program

2004 | Creation of Missouri Homestead Act

2005 | Modification of provision in various healthcare and social service programs

2006 | Appropriation of $1 million for home-delivered meals

2009 | Strengthened pre-need funeral regulations; Increased personal needs allowance for Medicaid residents in long- term care facilities

2010 | Notification of liens against real estate property

2012 | Strengthened protections for elderly and disabled Missourians against financial exploitation

2015 | Senior Savings Protection Act; Deletion of Sales Tax on Pharmaceuticals

2019 | Senior Farmers market Nutrition Program; Senior Services Growth and Development Program

2020 | Asset Limit Increase for MO HealthNet Eligibility

2021| Electronic Monitoring in Long-Term Care Facilities

2023 | No tax on Social Security; Property Tax Reform