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The West Virginia Silver Haired Legislature is a model legislature, composed of 134 representatives, all 60 years of age or older, who are elected from throughout the state by their peers. The Silver Haired Legislature (SHL) is patterned after the West Virginia Legislature and follows, to the extent possible, the rules that govern its proceedings.
The purpose of the Silver Haired Legislature is: a) To provide an opportunity for older West Virginians to reinforce their knowledge of the legislative process; and b) To identify common problems, not only of senior citizens, but all West Virginians, and to propose realistic, feasible solutions to those problems in the form position papers and resolutions.
The West Virginia Silver Haired Legislature is supported by involvement of the clerks' office of the West Virginia State Senate and House of Delegates by authorizations of a concurrent resolution of the West Virginia Legislature, thus ensuring that the session is conducted as closely as possible to that of the regular Legislature.
Beginning with the 2000-2001 Silver Haired Legislature session, the focus of the SHL was broadened by incorporating the interim process practiced by the West Virginia Legislature. The first year of the two-year Silver Haired Legislature is known as the Interim Session. During the Interim Session there is a concentration on training in the legislative process, parliamentary procedure, information gathering, expert testimony, development of position, paper topics, and officer election and training. The second year of the two-year session is known as the Regular Session. During the Regular Session the position papers and resolutions that have been developed over the intervening year at the Regional caucuses will be introduced, studied, debated, and acted upon.
The Silver Haired Legislature is organized and coordinated by the West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services. Regional coordination is provided by the states four area agencies on aging. Each area agency designates a regional coordinator who is the key person for all Silver Haired activities in the region. The rules of the Silver Haired Legislature are developed by the West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services and adopted by the Joint Rules Committee, composed of the officers and committee chairpersons elected by the membership of the Silver Haired Legislature.
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