What is the Massachusetts Silver Legislature?
The Massachusetts Silver Legislature (MSL) was organized in 1980, by Governor Edward King. It is a formally elected body of citizens 60 years of age and older that promotes conscientious legislative advocacy for older adults. All members are volunteers who served without pay. MSL members meet at the State House, Senate Reading Room, Boston.
Elections are held every two years at local Senior Centers in the District. Seniors elect 40 Senators and 160 Representatives statewide. Following elections, the legislators meet to elect officers. They work with Senior Center staff to determine the needs of the elderly, and bring the information to their Legislators.
How Does the Silver Legislature Work?
In December of each new legislative session, MSL members, assisted by their respective legislators, file bills that will better the quality of life of our elder generation. They share the bills with MSL members. Members work with legislators and ask them to become sponsors. As soon as new bills are given bill numbers, assigned to Committees, and a Hearing Date is scheduled, members begin their wok on priority bills. They testify before the Legislative Committee Public Hearings in support of priority bills, and encourage Committee members to release them with favorable recommendations. As bills go to the House/Senate floors, members contact their legislators for support and early passage.
MSL and its members have enjoyed enormous successes over the years, and have gained the support of legislators in the passage of legislation, while earning their respect and confidence.
Who is Eligible to Serve as a MSL Legislator?
- One candidate from each District will be elected a MSL Senator, and one Alternate will be appointed.
- One candidate from each District will be elected a MSL Representative, and one alternate will be appointed.
When there are more than two candidates for the same District, the third candidate will become an "Advocate" until an opening becomes available.
MSL Committee members meet with their counterparts at State House Committees to determine their position on certain legislation and work with them to make changes acceptable to the Committee.
What Does an Alternate Do?
MSL Alternates attend meetings together with MSL Legislators and receive training in the legislative process. They observe the activities at the meetings, but are unable to vote. When an opening becomes available, the Alternate may choose to be as a MSL Legislator.
Do MSL Members Work with Other Elder Groups?
MSL members work with the major elder service organizations in the Commonwealth and share their priority bills and concerns for the elderly. We are also affiliated with the National Silver Haired Congress in Washington, D.C. and several of our members attend the annual Washington Conferences.