News from Annapolis
2019 Session:  Week   3                 Delegate Trent Kittleman - District 9A
  • MANSEF:  Maryland's Most Under-Appreciated Education Asset
  • 2019: Looking at Less Legislation
  • NOTICE of Special Edition on Kirwan, later this week
  • District News
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Maryland Education's Hidden Asset 
Maryland Association of Nonpublic Special Education Facilities

            Every year I meet with the representatives of MANSEF in Annapolis and am always struck by how Maryland  wastes  this precious asset.

             MANSEF is a nonprofit organization of special education schools which are approved by the Maryland State Department of Education to serve students referred and funded by local public school systems.  It provides a significant piece of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) which mandates that a continuum of placements be available for students with disabilities and currently serves more than 3,800 students in almost 100 schools across the state -- each school focusing on one or more specific disabilities.
What is the "Least Restrictive Environment" (LRE") ?

        For some reason, we seem to take it on faith that inclusion in a public school is either the only or the best fit for every child, regardless of disability or individual need.  
        Public schools try very hard to accommodate the needs of every child, but are occasionally unwilling to admit that a non-public school dedicated to teaching children with a specific disability might be able to better serve a child.
        It's time we begin to really consider alternatives.
        Unique benefits of nonpublic special education.   Students feel much more included and valued when they are truly part of their school community.  In nonpublic special education schools, students have a real opportunity to fully participate in all aspects of school life -- from sports, clubs, plays and school government to talent shows and the prom.  They participate, not by being "assigned to a peer" or as someone's "buddy," but as a person, and individual -- and often, as the leader.
        The outcomes tells the story.  For example, recent data show that 63% of high school graduates have successfully enrolled in post-secondary education or technical school and apprenticeship setting -- nearly 20% higher than the national rate   (for more results, see MANSEF post-secondary outcomes study,  click here.)
        Placement must be individually determined .  A local public school system cannot unilaterally  decide to bring all students placed at a nonpublic special education school back to an in-district program, nor can it decide that all students with a particular  disability must be educated within its schools.  Federal law requires the placement decision for each student to be made individually by the IEP team.  Parents are a part of the process.
To see or download a copy of the Directory, click here.
How to Learn More About MANSEF Schools

        If you have any interest in -- or know someone who might be interested -- I strongly recommend taking a look at the MANSEF "Membership Directory," pictured to the left.  
        It is not only a comprehensive Directory, providing extensive information about each of its schools in Maryland, it also provides information that any parent of a child with a disability will want to know.  For example, there is an excellent 4-page summary of " Understanding Special Education and Advocating for Your Child: a Brief Summary of the Special Education Process." 
Looking at Less Legislation
Fewer Bills on the horizon

       Due to various factors, the General Assembly will not have to wade through 3,000 bills this year. To date, just 499 bills have been introduced in the House and 500 in the Senate. That number will go up, but, because of the number of brand new delegates coupled with changes shortening the time frame for submitting bills, it won't approach the record numbers we saw over the last few years.
                Thank goodness!
               If you're interested in seeing what bills have been filed thus far along with the hearing date of those already scheduled, you can click here.
               If you prefer to see a see a short summary of each bills, click here to get a list of the House bill summaries (synopsis) by date. Click on any date to see the bills introduced on that date.
          Below are some of the more problematic bills.  In general, they fall into two categories: the "Unnecessarily Anti-business" bills, and the "Unfairly Favored Groups & Causes (such as unions and climate change)

Favored Causes or Groups

HB 277:  The "Regional Transportation and Climate Protection Act of 2019" This bill only provides authorization to the Governor to become a "full participant" om any regional governmental initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.  It also authorizes the Governor to impose an additional tax on gasoline if either Virginia or D.C. impose such a tax.

HB 82: Access to Healthy Food.  This bill charges the Department of Transportation to include in its Complete Streets program "access to healthy food" for individuals living in "food deserts."

HB 201: State Employees Subject to Collective Bargaining - Free Transit Ridership.  This bill does what it says in the title: it requires the Maryland Transit Administration to offer free ridership to union employees in the Executive Branch of State government.
        This bill requires the Department of Commerce to procure a management entity to establish the Maryland Smart Growth Investment Fund.  It also m andates that the Governor appropriate $7 million to fund this entity in FY 2021.
HB 472: Constitutional Amendment - Environmental Rights. This proposes a Constitutional Amendment establishing that "every person has the right to a clean and healthy environment, and authorizes "the State, a political subdivision, and any person, to enforce such rights."

HB 307: Maryland Lynching Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  This bill certainly wins the prize for the most sensationalized title
 Anti-Business Bills

 HB 166: Minimum Wage and Enforcement (the "Fight for Fifteen" act)
        This bill raises the minimum wage each year over the next five years, so that beginning on July 1, 2023, the minimum wage will be $15 per hour, to increase by the percent growth  in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) every year thereafter.  But that's not all it does.   
  • The bill mandates the Governor's budget to include a 7% rate increase for community service providers in fiscal year 2020; a 5.5% increase in each of the next three years; and by the percent growth in the COI every year thereafter. 
  • Beginning July 1, 2027, eliminates the ability of an employer to count tips as part of an employees' wage; rather, the employer will be required to pay heretofore "tipped" employees no less that a straight minimum wage;

This bill establishes an entirely new program, along the lines of the "Sick and Safe Leave Act" that became law last year.  This program, however, establishes an insurance fund that both the employer and employee pay into, and to access the benefits, an employee must file a claim.


  HB 499:  Interstate pipeline liability act. This bill establishes that an interstate pipeline facility is "an ultrahazardous and abnormally dangerous activity" and makes the operator "strictly liable" for damages resulting from the operation of the pipeline.

        This bill was introduced in the 2017 session as "the Home Act." The bill prevents landlords and homeowners from refusing to rent or sell a dwelling to anyone based on their source of income.
         The purpose of the act is to "deconcentrate poverty by providing additional opportunities for tenants utilizing public subsidies to live in neighborhoods" where mobility, and economic opportunity are enhanced merely by the location of a person's home.
HB 329 & HB 351:   Motor Vehicle Insurance.  Both of these bills place additional restrictions on motor vehicle insurance agencies. The bills prohibit insurers from rating a risk based "in whole or in part" on (1) the occupation of, or on the education level attained by, the insured or applicant; or (2) on the credit history of an applicant or insured.
         Health care continues to be a major issue -- and expense -- for everyone.  This bill Creates the "Office of Health Care Coverage" in the Maryland Department of Health.  
        It's purpose is to e stablish and carry out the Healthcare Maryland Program to provide benefits to State residents who do not receive federal benefits through Medicare, TRICARE, plans that are subject to ERISA, or any other federal medical program.

        The Department of Health will be required to contract with a certain number of managed care organizations to provide an "essential benefits package."  That means every policy or program must provide coverage for all of the following:

    • Developmental disability benefits; 
    • intellectual disability benefits; 
    • Substance use benefits; 
    • Reproductive benefits; 
    • Family planning benefits; 
    • In vitro fertilization benefits; 
    • Dental benefits; 
    • Vision benefits; 
    • Ambulatory patient services benefits; 
    • Emergency services benefits; 
    • Hospitalization benefits; 
    • Maternity and newborn care benefits; 
    • Prescription drug benefits; 
    • Benefits for rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices;
    •  Laboratory services benefits; 
    • Preventive and wellness services; 
    • chronic disease management; 
    • Pediatric benefits, including oral and vision care; 
    • and any other benefits as determined by the commission.

        The bill also requires employers to pay an annual payroll tax equal to 10% of the total wages paid to its employees in the state.

KIRWAN:  Is More Funding the Answer? 
Look for a "Special Education Edition" of the Newsletter later this week, examining some of the very real difficulties inherent in attempting to transform the State's K-12 into a Top Tier Education System.
District News

County Delegation.. 

Work/Vote Session in Annapolis
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Howard County Delegation Room 
Lowe House Office Building 
Room 218
8:30am - 10:00am
          The Howard County Delegation has scheduled our next meeting to discuss and potentially vote on local bills. 
        Delegation meetings are open to the public. The agenda for this meeting is attached and all of the 2019 proposed legislation may be viewed on the County website  

Bond Initiative Requests:
  •  Butterfly Building for Visual Arts Gallery and Guest Services - Design and Build, Ho. Co. 05-19, $250,000 (Revised); Sponsored by: Delegate Hill
 Proposed Local Bills
  •  Howard County - Orphans' Court Judges - Qualifications, Ho. Co. 2-19; Sponsored by: Delegate Atterbeary 
  • Howard County - Impact Fees - Calculation, Ho. Co. 3-19; Sponsored by: Delegate Atterbeary 
  • Howard County - Authority to Impose Fees for Use of Disposable Bags, Ho. Co. 4-19; Sponsored by: Delegate Hill 
  • Howard County - Alcoholic Beverages - Marketplace License, Ho. Co. 06-19; Sponsored by: Delegate Hill 
  • Howard County - Ethics - Limit on Developer Contributions, Ho. Co. 12-19; Sponsored by: Delegate Miller 
  • Howard County - Howard County Housing Commission - Subsidiary Entities, Ho. Co. 26-19; Sponsored by: Delegate Feldmark 
  • Howard County - Dep. of Corrections - Authority to Establish Programs, Ho. Co. 29-19; Sponsored by: Chair, Howard County Delegation 
  • Howard County - Collection and Allocation of County Transfer Tax, Ho. Co. 30-19; Sponsored by: Chair, Howard County Delegation

         Carroll county delegates are planning to give a high priority to their bond initiative for a turf field at the former North Carroll High School this year.
          Right now, Carroll has no turf fields.  These fields are far less affected by heavy rainfall that caused numerous games to be rained out in Carroll last year.
        Other nearby counties such as Anne Arundel, Howard and Frederick have multiple such fields. Howard, for example, has 12 high schools with turf fields and six parks with multiple turf fields.
         Commissioner Richard Weaver spoke to the importance of getting State help for this initiative.  Carroll is planning to build a sports complex on the North Carroll site, he said. 
       "We have a facility. We have 50 acres on that site, with probably $10 million in infrastructure. . . . In addition, we have tennis courts. We have outside basketball. We have a stadium."
Delegate Trent Kittleman
District 9A, Western Howard County and Southern Carroll County (Sykesville)
Room 202, Lowe House Office Building
6 Bladen Street,   Annapolis, MD 21401
410-841-3556  *   Trent.Kittleman@House.State.MD.US
Interim Office
3000 Kittleman Lane,  West Friendship, MD 21794
301-661-3344  *
Administrative AideChelsea Leigh Murphy