POLICY SYNOPSIS FOR UNDER 65 YEARS OF AGE OKLAHOMA SILVER HAIRED LEGISLATURE ASSOCIATE MEMBERS
As the Silver Haired Legislators (OSHL) and the Oklahoma Silver Haired legislature Alumni Association (OSHLAA ) Members become older, traveling to attend meetings, training, and other OSHL and OSHLAA events is riddled with difficulty due to ambulatory issues and chronic health conditions suffered by the members. The Pandemic has added to the burden.
In addition to the above situation, many of the Older OSHL and OSHLAA members have difficulty attending meetings through Zoom and other electronic platforms. Some of the members suffer from hearing loss, so participating in a meeting by teleconferencing can bring challenges. And the internet access is often marginal in the rural parts of Oklahoma, due to Oklahoma’s electronic technology inadequate infrastructure.
The thing is, though, this Older Membership has valuable, institutional knowledge as well as legislative knowledge. They understand how law is made in Oklahoma and how to effectively engage in the law-making process. The Older Membership is in touch with other Older Oklahomans, who live in their communities where they live. They know about the worries, fears, and the obstacles which Older Oklahomans face every day. The Membership has authored, advocated for, and passed bills in the state Legislature. This legislation has improved the lives of Older Oklahomans.
The OSHLAA Members wish to continue this legacy, but the OSHL needs additional resources. The OSHLAA goal is to continue recruiting interested persons sixty (60) years of age and older. The OSHLAA has added a new goal: To recruit younger people, under the age of sixty (60), to become OSHL Associate Members who are interested in learning the legislative process and how to conduct effective advocacy. With additional resources, more can be accomplished at the State Capitol to better support Older Oklahomans.
OSHL ASSOCIATE MEMBER APPLICATION PROCESS
Completing and submitting the application with a $15 annual dues is all that is required. The application and $15 annual dues can be either mailed to the OSHLAA 2nd Vice President (Roberta Dake), who lives in Tulsa, or submitted to the Applicant’s respective Area Agency on Aging (AAA) Director.
When the OSHL Associate membership application has been processed and approved, the Applicant will receive a welcome letter from one of the OSHLAA Officers. Also, a magnetic name tag will be directly mailed to the new OSHL Associate Member’s home address to be worn at organizational events and when advocating at the State Capitol.
OSHL ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP RESPONSIBILITIES
Upon receipt of the membership acknowledgement, the new OSHL Member can begin attending OSHLAA and OSHL events, including any locally scheduled OSHL meetings. Sometimes, new OSHL Members will be invited to the respective AAA Council meetings. Often the AAA OSHL group will have a meeting at the conclusion of the AAA Council meeting.
- All of the OSHLAA Executive Committees meetings are open to the public, so whether meeting in-person or virtually, OSHL Legislators, OSHL Associate Members, and OSHLAA Members are free to attend the meetings.
- OSHL Associate Members are welcome to attend the OSHLAA Annual Meeting, which are sometimes held at the Capitol. After the membership and training requirements are met, OSHL Associate Members can become an OSHLAA Member. However, this is not required.
- Biennially, there is an OSHL Legislative Session. OSHL Legislators and Alternates propose bills to the OSHL Legislators and Alternates to consider taking to the State Legislature. OSHL Associate Members are welcome to participate in the OSHL two-day Legislative Session, although OSHL Associate Members will not have voting privileges regarding what bills the OSHL Legislators and Alternates decide to take forward. Their ideas are welcomed.
- Usually there is legislative and advocacy training provided at the biennial two-day event. New OSHL Associates attend this, and other, training sessions to learn the legislative process.
- Volunteering to serve on committees, in recruitment efforts, and volunteering to advocate at the State Capitol to promote legislation that will improve the lives of Older Oklahomans is a major responsibility. Younger OSHL Associate Members will be welcomed by the knowledgeable, older OSHLAA and OSHL Members.