The North Carolina Senior Tar Heel Legislature was created by the North Carolina General Assembly with the passage of Senate Bill 479 in July of 1993. The Senior Tar Heel Legislature was created 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. Most counties also have an alternate delegate. Delegates and alternates must be age 60 or older. The North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services provides 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.

2023-2024 Legislative Priorities

Five priorities were chosen by the NCSTHL at the October 2022 General Session for recommendation to the NC General Assembly for consideration in the 2023-24 legislative cycle.

  1. Allocate an additional $8M in recurring funds for Adult Protective Services (APS) to address staff shortages. In SFY 21, APS received 32,075 reports across the state, compared to 14,001 reports in SFY 2005 2006, reflecting an increase of 129% in 17 years. Priority Fact Sheet 1
  2. Increase the Senior Center General Purpose appropriation by $1,265,316 in recurring funds. Senior Center General Purpose funding is currently $1,265,316, which is not meeting the demands of a growing older adult population. Priority Fact Sheet 2
  3. Allocate an additional $8M in recurring funds for the Home and Community Care Block Grant. The Home and Community Care Block Grant is the primary funding source for community-based programs that support people ages 60 and older and current funding is insufficient to meet the need. The current state appropriation is $36.9M. Priority Fact Sheet 3
  4. Allocate an additional $1.5M in recurring funds for 11 additional long term care ombudsmen. Ombudsmen serve as advocates for residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, providing protections for vulnerable elders. The current state appropriation for this program is $918.8K. Priority Fact Sheet 4
  5. Strengthen long term care staffing standards. In nursing homes, NC mandates minimum staffing standards for RNs and LPNs. For Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), there are no staffing standards, resulting in a strong likelihood of substandard care of frail elders. Priority Fact Sheet 5
These recommendations totaling $18.75M will provide supportive services and protection for the state’s 2.4 million older adults.

As of September 2023, members of the NC General Assembly did not choose to include the five legislative recommendations in the state budget. 

Supplemental Legislative Agenda

As approved by a Resolution adopted October 4, 2022, the Resolutions Committee chair consulted with the chairs of the Issues Committees and offered the following for consideration by the Executive Committee as a Supplemental Legislative Agenda, which was approved February 20, 2023.

NC General Assembly Action Items

  1. Medicaid Personal Needs Allowance: Increase the personal needs allowance for Medicaid residents in nursing homes from $30 to $70 per month. (Included in the 2023 Senate budget proposal.)
  2. Digital Entry for Older Adults: Develop a comprehensive strategy of digital equity in the aging population that promotes self-sufficiency.  Develop one-stop access system for older adults on availability of service and support of internet technology and develop a sustainable cost-effective plan so senior citizens can access the services at a reasonable cost. 
  3. Emergency Electronic Notification: Provide electronic notification devices for seniors who live alone and may not have a ready contact if assistance if needed.
  4. Dental and Vision Care: Increase funding to improve availability of low-cost dental and vision care or dental and vision insurance for seniors.
  5. Supplemental Health Insurance: Study the cost of supplemental health insurance for seniors and consider ways to reduce these costs or provide additional resources for seniors to help defray these costs.
  6. Mental Health Services: Improve availability and payment resources for mental health services, both in-patient and out-patient, for senior citizens.
  7. Affordable Housing: Address the issue of affordable housing which is a barrier for senior citizens and provide additional funding for the NC Housing Trust Fund.

NC State Agency Action Items

In addition, the Issues Committees chairs recommended these topics for priority consideration by various State agencies:

  1. Age-Friendly Construction Design: Consider changing construction requirements to incorporate more universal design features such as requiring new public and private homes and apartments to have no-step entry and doorways that are wide enough for wheelchairs.  Coordinate with NC State Building Code Council.
  2. Transportation: Consider allowing up to 5% of the Rural Operating Assistance Program funds to model innovative transportation projects in designated rural counties.  Coordinate with the NC Department of Transportation. 
  3. Automobile Insurance: Consider allowing automobile insurance discount to seniors, age 55 and over, taking a Driver Safety Course by insurance companies operating in NC.  Coordinate with the NC Department of Insurance and the Division of Motor Vehicles, NC Department of Transportation.
  4. Driver's License Requirements: Review the Driver's License requirements and renewals for older users to be consistent with requirements for all age groups. Coordinate with the Division of Motor Vehicles, NC Department of Transportation.
  5. Senior Farmers Markets: Consider the expansion of the number of State and local operated Farmers Markets so that healthy food access and nutrition is more readily available for older adults and to provide more markets for local farmers and expand the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program. Coordinate with the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the NC Cooperative Extension Service.


It is recommended that these Supplemental Legislative Agenda items and the additional State agencies items be forwarded, along with the Senior Tar Heel Legislative Five Priorities for 2023-2024, to the North Carolina General Assembly Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services for study between the 2023 Legislative Session and the 2024 Legislative Session which will reconvene in May 2024.
The North Carolina Senior Tar Heel Legislature welcomes the opportunity to present additional information along with other Aging Advocacy organizations and staff from the North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services.


NCSTHL Officers 2024-2025

Speaker: Woody Brinson (Duplin)
Speaker Pro Tempore: Annette Meyers (Granville)
Deputy Speaker Pro Tempore: Elliotte Ashburn (Greene)
Secretary: Gayla Woody (Gaston)
Chaplain: Rev. Dr. Claude Odom (Hertford)
Parliamentarian: Robert Allen (Person)

Friends of STH Chair: Walter LaRoque (Lenoir)
Immediate Past Speaker: Norma Duncan (Mitchell)

NCSTHL Committees

Tab/Accordion Items

Advocacy: Develops a strategy and plan (including schedules, assignments, timelines, etc.) for communicating NCSTHL priority resolutions to the General Assembly. Contact: Jan Moore (Hyde)
Elections and Credentials: Receives names of candidates wishing to be elected to the STHL, conducts the election in accordance with the rules and bylaws, and certifies to the Speaker duly selectednew delegates at the opening of each session.  Contact: Pat Polley (Alleghany), Dianne Meiggs (Camden)
Finance: Responsible for developing a plan for financial support for the continued operation of NCSTHL. Contact: Robert Shackleford, Jr. (Randolph)
Public Relations: Develops publicity plans, pres kits, arranges media coverage of events, press releases, and brochures. Contact: Allison Brown (Davie)
Resolutions: Coordinates submission and distribution of submitted resolutions. Contact: Bill Lamb (Wake)
Rules and Bylaws: Reviews the rules and bylaws that govern the procedures of the NCSTHL. All changes are submitted to the NCSTHL. Contact: Robert Allen (Person)

Crime, Safety, Security: Focuses on physical, emotional, and financial threats faced by older adults, addressing fraud and scam schemes; and elder abuse. Contact: Rosalyn Pettiford (Durham), Gregory Browning (Halifax)
Enrichment Opportunities: Identifies opportunities for older adults who seek enrichment activities and socialization outlets. Contact: Marianna Stacy (New Hanover)
General Legislation: Recognizes important topics not being addressed by the six issues committees. Contact: Kaye White (Dare), Helen McGinnis (Cabarrus)
Health / Wellness / Prevention / Quality of Life: Addresses challenges faced by older adults facing a broad spectrum of health needs. Contact: Gerald Brandon (Onslow)
Long Term Care: Discovers shortcomings in both the institutional and private setting of long-term care. Contact: Walter LaRoque (Lenoir)
Service Access: Works to ensure services are available to older adults who need access to resources such as broadband, transportation, and socializaton outlets. Contact: Clark Poole (Rutherford)

Want to learn more?

Please contact Rebecca Freeman 

Interested in applying for appointment to the Senior Tar Heel Legislature?

Complete an application and submit to your area agency on aging (AAA). If you need assistance, contact Rebecca Freeman using the above link. 

This page was last modified on 03/21/2024