Sam Bauman: Senate bill would bolster senior education

Seniors might want to keep an eye on Senate Bill No. 412, sponsored by seven senators: Woodhouse, Parks, Spearman, Segerblom, Jones, Manendo and Smith.

Here’s how the bill reads, in part: “An act relating to higher education; making an appropriate to the Nevada System of Higher Education to allow senior citizens to audit classes for a nominal fee in certain circumstances; and providing for other matters properly relating thereto.”

Observers noted that this kind of measure had long been in place until hard economic times forced it to end. The appropriation aspect is needed, they say, because if there is no money involved, bills tend to get lost.

Further explanation from the Legislative Counsel’s Digest: “This bill makes an appropriation to the Nevada System of Higher Education to allow seniors citizens who are 62 years of age or older to audit a class for a nominal fee, providing that space is available in that class.”

Section one of the bill reads: “There is hereby approved from the state General Fund to the Nevada System of Higher Education the sum of $50,000 to offset the costs of allowing senior citizens … to audit university, college or community college classes …”

It is expected that the $50,000 would not be used and would return to the general fund.

There’s much more to the legislation; more information is on the legislative website. Many seniors enjoy continuing their education, making them more valuable citizens. And the sum involved is modest in relation to other million-dollar amounts. You might want to comment to your senator.

Me, I’d like to brush up on physics and maybe trigonometry, which I squeezed through back when. And I’ve got a backpack for any books involved.


You never know when you’re going to benefit from working for the Retired Senior Volunteer Program in Carson City. You learn a lot from your clients, sometimes unexpectedly.

I recently sat talking with my MS client, who spends most of his day in a reclining chair reading or watching TV on a small, flat screen. He mentioned how he enjoyed the March NCAA college basketball tournament, and I asked him which cable or satellite system he used (I’m moving soon and my new apartment has built-in TV cable systems, which you still have to pay for).

“Don’t have any hookup, just that antenna and a high-definition converter,” he said, gesturing to a contraption hanging at window. “Made it out of an old wire coat hanger and I get all the major channels plus some Spanish-language channels. Works just fine.”

I checked off-the-air with an old rabbit-ears antenna and a high-def converter I had bought back when the switch was made. Back then it hadn’t worked for me, so I signed on to a satellite system. That started out at $19.99 a month, but now, a little more than two years later, the bill is $30 for just the basic channels. I don’t watch much TV, mostly news and PBS classics, but $30 adds up to $360 a year, and who knows what the next boost will bring?

So I hooked it all up and lo! There’s the picture and sound. So as soon as I move I’m going to cancel my satellite system (two years and my contract is up). Some of us may recall back in the early days off-the-air was the only way to get TV. And it was and is free that way.

Sam Bauman writes about senior affairs, among other things, for the Nevada Appeal.


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