Maryland Disability News
Starting January 1, the
Maryland MVA will begin issuing voluntary identification cards to people who self-identify as having Developmental Disabilities. The cards will include instructions to law enforcement and first responders on how best to communicate with the cardholders. It is hoped that these cards will de-escalate situations created by misunderstandings (i.e. behaviors rooted in anxiety that are perceived as aggression) and ultimately prevent use of force. For more information or to register for a card, please call the MVA at 410-768-7000.
Maryland's State Housing Policy has been expanded to include a prohibition against discrimination based on Source of Income, which means it is no longer legal to refuse to sell or rent a home based on whether the applicant's income is from employment, SSI, SSDI, or other subsidies.
A bill has passed that requires the Maryland Transit Administration to provide monthly bus passes to opioid treatment facilities for distribution to patients who have disabilities and/or low income.
Remember, you can keep up with all Maryland legislation here. You can search the site by bill name or number, and you can search the full text of bills by keyword. You can even switch states or search all states. This website is a great way to see for yourself what our legislators are doing.
National Disability News Roundup
Riding the rails should get a little easier soon. According to The Washington Post, Amtrak has just agreed to make at least 135 of its stations ADA compliant over the next ten years (they were initially given a deadline of 2010 for full compliance). They have also agreed to pay $2.25 million in damages to riders with disabilities that have traveled to stations that had no wheelchair ramps or were otherwise inaccessible to customers with limited mobility.
As we all know, getting the right educational supports for children with disabilities can be a long and challenging process. The process is especially difficult for military families that move around a lot and don't have the time to repeat the process at every new school. According to Disability Scoop, the Navy has started a pilot program that attempts to address this by streamlining the process and making some regulations federal (i.e. the same in every state). The Navy has hired two special education attorneys to help families navigate eligibility requirements and advocate for quicker access to services and the acceptance of documents from one state to another.
The Administration for Community Living has granted $1.75 million to Rush University College of Nursing and four community partners to create a program that increases the number of medical students who are trained in the needs of patients with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Rush University has a goal of training 15,000 students over 5 years. This program is seen as a major victory for advocacy groups that seek to address inequity in healthcare for people with disabilities. In recent years, there has been a push to make disability education part of every medical school's curriculum; while that obviously hasn't happened, this program is a step in the right direction.