The North Carolina Senior Tarheel Legislature Serves and Supports Seniors

Legislature

By Althea Taylor-Jones

Since 1993, the North Carolina Senior Tar Heel Legislature (NC STHL) has served as the voice of the state’s “seasoned citizens,” bringing legislative attention to matters that impact the well-being of older adults, persons with disabilities, and their caregivers. Created by the North Carolina General Assembly with the passage of Senate Bill 479 in July 1993, the Senior Tar Heel Legislature was established to:

Provide information to senior citizens on the legislative process and matters being considered by the North Carolina General Assembly.

Promote citizen involvement and advocacy concerning aging issues before the North Carolina General Assembly.

Assess the legislative needs of older citizens by convening a forum modeled after the North Carolina General Assembly.

Each of the 100 North Carolina counties is entitled to one delegate to the Senior Tar Heel Legislature. Delegates and alternates must be age 60 or older to meet the guidelines of the Older Americans Act. The North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services provide staff support for the Senior Tar Heel Legislature in cooperation with the 16 Area Agencies on Aging, which are responsible for conducting the selection of delegates and alternates.

The Piedmont Triad Regional Council (PTRC) Area Agency on Aging (AAA) is authorized by federal and state statutes to oversee the delivery of services to the aging population and their families by administering the allocation of government funds and brokering information among the aging and disabled, the media, the public, and service providers. The PTRC (Region G) serves 12 counties and maintains contact information for delegates and alternates in each county including Alamance, Caswell, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Guilford, Montgomery, Randolph, Rockingham, Stokes, Surry and Yadkin. Counties are supported through its Aging, Criminal Justice, Housing, Management Services, Regional Planning, Weatherization, and Workforce Development operating units: 336-904-0300 or PTRC.org.

All older adults have a voice and a vote. It is paramount that each voice is heard at all levels. By becoming actively engaged at the local and state levels, opportunities become available for regional and national advocacy.

Local

Aging Services Planning Committee Meeting, held each 3rd Friday of the month at 9 a.m, at Senior Services, located at 2895 Shorefair Drive in Winston-Salem;

City Council and County Commissioners
meetings
– call the offices of the City and County Governments for details regarding meeting schedules.

State

The North Carolina Senior Tar Heel Legislature meets in March, June and October of each year. Any citizen of North Carolina is invited to attend and observe proceedings. Consult NCSTHL.org for meeting dates and locations;

The NC General Assembly also welcome citizens as observers. Consult NCGA.state.nc.us to research the calendar and committee assignments.

A good citizen is an informed citizen. Raise your voice by exercising your right to contribute to the growth and progress of your community!

Dr. Taylor-Jones is a past two-term Speaker of the N.C. Senior Tar Heel Legislature. As a Certified Gerontologist, she continues to advocate for older adults by volunteering with AARP, Hospice and Palliative Care, PTRC, Senior Services and other agencies/organizations within the aging services network.

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