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 Interview: 50 Years of Successful Advocacy!

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

SHL 2022 Top Five Legislative Priorities

  1. Funding for Senior Services Growth & Development Program
  2. Reinstatement of Funding to Missouri RX Program
  3. Increase Funding for Area Agency on Aging Meals Programs
  4. 5 % of Internet Sales Tax to Assist Area Agency on Aging Programs for Seniors
  5. Expand Low-Cost High-Speed Internet to Rural Areas
Some of Missouri’s SHL accomplishments include:
  • Revised guardianship code (1982)
  • Deletion of sales tax on pharmaceuticals (1977)
  • Appropriations for transportation (1973)
  • Statutory recognition of Division of Aging and AAA’s (1983)
  • “Circuit breaker” housing tax credit for seniors (1974)
  • Protection of volunteers from civil suits (1988)
  • Improvement of statutory lien law (1987)
  • Elder abuse law (1988)
  • Durable power of attorney to make healthcare decisions (1982)
  • Revision of the nursing home inspection law (1976)
  • Improvement of regulations for managed care and HMO’s (1997)
  • Revision of probate code (1976)
  • Appropriation for in-home services (1976)
  • $3.2 million appropriation for home-delivered meals (1997)
  • Increased dependency deduction on Missouri income taxes (1998)
  • Revision of “circuit breaker” law (1998)
  • Pharmaceutical tax credits (1999)
  • Permanent funding for CLAIM (Community Leaders Assisting the Insured of Missouri) within Division of Aging’s budget (1999)
  • Addressed Financial Exploitation of the Elderly (2000)
  • Creation of a Department of Health & Senior Services (2001)
  • Creation of the Missouri Senior Rx Program (2002)
  • Nursing Home Bill SB 556 (2003)
  • Financial Support for the Missouri Senior Rx Program (2003)
  • Creation of Missouri Homestead Act (2004)
  • Modification of provision in various healthcare and social service programs (2005)
  • Appropriation of $1 million for home-delivered meals (2006)
  • Strengthened pre-need funeral regulations (2009)
  • Increased personal needs allowance for Medicaid residents in long-term care facilities (2009)
  • Notification of liens against real estate property (2010)
  • Strengthened protections for elderly and disabled Missourians against financial exploitation (2012)