The Arc Maryland's Weekly Legislative Update

Crossover Edition: March 19 to March 25, 2023

Stay up to date on legislation through our Bill Tracker! View position statements, access bill text, and check hearing times and dates.
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Today, March 20th is Crossover Day in the legislature, which means that it is (in most cases) the last day for bills to pass and move out of their originating chamber. There are only 22 days remaining for hearings and voting sessions in the opposite chamber before the end of session. With Crossover Day comes a lot of movement, as legislators have been working hard to get bills through their chambers. The bills below are just some of the many that we are watching closely that have made it, or are expected to make it to crossover!

HB0294 - County Boards of Education - Due Process Proceedings for Children With Disabilities - Burden of Proof

Following countless calls and emails to House W&M leadership, HB0294, which shifts the Burden of Proof, in special education hearings, from parents to schools, has passed favorably, unanimously out of the committee, and unanimously out of the House! This bill brings us one step closer to balancing the scales of fairness and equity! Thank you to ALL of our members and partners for your incredible advocacy that was behind this movement! Stay tuned for action alerts to bring this bill across the Senate.

HB1237 - Special Education - Judicial Actions - Attorney's Fees and Related Costs

Another bill that would balance the scales of fairness in special education hearings is HB1237. It passed out of BOTH committees to which it was assigned, unanimously. It authorizes a court to award reasonable attorney's fees and related costs to the parent of a child with a disability who is the prevailing party in special education proceedings. This bill is on its third reading in the House and we expect it will make it!

HB0549 / SB0555 - Fair Wages Act of 2023

The Senate version of the Governor's bill to accelerate the minimum wage increase in Maryland, SB0555, passed in the Senate with amendments that would push the date for wages to reach $15 an hour to January 1st, 2024. The House has yet to pass its version of the bill, HB0549. The CPI indexing component of the bill was removed through amendment. There is a budget appropriation for DDA to keep pace with the escalated effective date of the minimum wage rate.

HB0546 / SB0551 - Serving Every Region Through Vocational Exploration Act of 2023

Each chamber passed a different version of a Vocational Exploration Act, which would create a year-of-service program for recent high school graduates (HB0546 and SB0551). As they pass over to the opposite chamber, the amendment differences in each of the bills will have to be worked out in conference, but we are happy to see our amendments have been included in both versions to ensure students exiting with a Certificate of Completion, and students who need less than 30 hours of work per week for successful employment will be eligible for this option.

HB0448 - Teacher Pay Parity Act

The Teacher Pay Parity Act, HB0448, passed its second reading with amendments out of the House, meaning it will be up for its final reading today. The amendments made to the bill create a phase-in timeline for how the differences between non-public and public school teachers will be resolved, closing the gap over three years.

HB1149 / SB0622 - End the Wait Act

This bill clarifies certain intentions of the 2022 End the Wait legislation. It would authorize certain Medicaid funding to be used for hiring and retaining providers in certain waiver programs, and alter the uses of certain funding appropriated to the Dedicated Purpose Account in the fiscal year 2023 budget bill. Amendments were made to clarify how funding in the dedicated purpose fund may be used to ensure people have access to providers. HB1149 is onto its third reading in the House, while SB0622 has passed in the Senate!

HB1176 - Public Safety - Voluntary 9-1-1 Registry

HB1176 would establish a voluntary 9-1-1 registry for Marylanders who need additional assistance in first responder encounters. This bill passed second reading in the House with Sponsor amendments and a data requirement to measure use of the option. We hope to see this bill pass out of the House today and move on to the Senate.


SB0343 - Maryland Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Program - Account Establishment - Procedures

Link to Bill Text: SB0343

Position: Support

Current Status: In House HGO hearing 3/21 at 1 PM; Passed in Senate (45-0)

The Arc submitted joint testimony in support with the DD Coalition. This bill would establish procedures for persons who can create or receive distributions from an ABLE account in the Maryland ABLE Program. It also would require the Maryland 529 Board to adopt procedures regarding the establishment and operation of an ABLE account by a person other than a certain designated beneficiary. This could be a conservator or guardian, spouse, parent, sibling, grandparent, or representative payee appointed by the Social Security Administration.

The bill ensures that there are safeguards for people utilizing and setting up ABLE Accounts.An amendment we proposed to the bill was accepted in the Senate that moved the effective date of the bill up from October 1, 2023, to June 1, 2023, to adhere to federal law.

SB0026 - Maryland Medical Assistance Program, Maryland Children's Health Program, and Social Services Programs - Eligibility and Enrollment

Link to Bill Text: SB0026

Position: Support

Current Status: In House HGO hearing 3/21 at 1 PM; Passed in Senate (45-0)

This legislation would require the Maryland Department of Health to establish an Express Lane Eligibility Program by January 1, 2025, to enroll individuals, based on certain eligibility, in the Maryland Medical Assistance Program and the Maryland Children's Health Program. It would require the Department of Human Services to enroll individuals, based on certain eligibility, in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. It also requires the Office of Home Energy Programs to enroll certain individuals in certain energy assistance programs.

The bill creates somewhat of a one-stop shop for individuals to have deemed eligibility for programs based on eligibility in others. It will help improve processing time for applications where individuals are clearly eligible based on their acceptance to other needs-based programs.

HB0185 - Nonpublic Schools and Child Care Providers - Corporal Punishment - Prohibition

Link to Bill Text: HB0185

Position: Support

Current Status: In Senate EEE hearing 3/22 at 1 PM; Passed in House (132-5)

This "clean up" bill would prohibit the State Board of Education from issuing a certificate of approval to non-public schools that do not have a policy prohibiting the administration of corporal punishment. It would require regulations adopted by the State Board for the registration of family child care homes and large family child care homes and the licensing and operation of child care centers to prohibit corporal punishment. It would also require the State Board to identify certain methods in a certain overall plan. This would bring non-public schools up to date with policies for Maryland public schools.


The Arc Maryland Visits Legislators with Partners Ahead of World Down Syndrome Day - March 21st

Last Thursday, The Arc Maryland and the Maryland Down Syndrome Advocacy Coalition were in Annapolis educating legislators and raising awareness about Down syndrome in advance of the World Down Syndrome Day event tomorrow, 3/21! We had a wonderful day alongside Partners in Policymaking® graduates Carmen Houston-Ludlam, Liz Zogby, and Lauren Ochalek, among many other advocates! Tomorrow, close to 100 people will join together in Annapolis for proclamations on the Senate and House Floors followed by a celebration dance party in Annapolis.

Save the Date and Submit Award Nominations: The Arc Maryland Statewide Convention and Awards Banquet - May 23rd

Mark your calendars for May 23rd! Our Convention & Awards Banquet is back once again at Turf Valley Resort in Howard County. This is your opportunity to showcase your business, organization, or product for an anticipated 300 self-advocate, family member, professional, legislative leader, and partner affiliate attendees! Registration will open soon, but in the meantime, check out our awards nominations, presenter, exhibitor, and sponsorship opportunities below.

Submit Awards Nominations
Submit A Presentation Proposal
Check Out Sponsor, Exhibitor, and Advertiser Opportunities

Tuesday, March 21st at 1:00 PM in House APP

  • HB1290 - Higher Education - Maryland 529 Program - Reform

Tuesday, March 21st at 1:00 PM in House HGO

  • SB0003 - 9–8–8 Trust Fund – Funding
  • SB0026 - Maryland Medical Assistance Program, Maryland Children's Health Program, and Social Services Programs - Eligibility and Enrollment
  • SB0101 - Maryland Medical Assistance Program – Collaborative Care Model Services – Implementation and Reimbursement Expansion
  • SB0168 - Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council - Establishment
  • SB0188 - Public Health - Rare Disease Advisory Council
  • SB0231 - Maryland Medical Assistance Program - Autism Waiver - Military Families
  • SB0343 - Maryland Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Program - Account Establishment - Procedures

Wednesday, March 22nd at 1:00 PM in House HGO

  • SB0112 - State Finance and Procurement- Grants- Prompt Payment Requirements

Wednesday, March 22nd at 1:00 PM in House W&M

  • SB0121 - More Opportunities for Career–Focused Students Act of 2023

Wednesday, March 22nd at 1:00 PM in Senate EEE

  • HB0185 - Nonpublic Schools and Child Care Providers - Corporal Punishment - Prohibition

Wednesday, March 22nd at 1:00 PM in Senate JPR

  • HB0072 - Business Regulation - Charitable Contribution - Definition

Thursday, March 23rd at 1:00 PM in House HGO

  • SB0202 - Prescription Drug Affordability Board - Upper Payment Limits

Thursday, March 23rd at 1:00 PM in Senate JPR

  • HB0137 - Civil Actions - Civil Immunity - Educator Intervention

Wednesday, March 29th at 1:00 PM in House W&M

  • SB0280 - Child Care Providers - Registration and Licensing - Exemptions
Please Note: the following abbreviations identify the Legislative Committees in the Assembly:
House of Delegates:
APP - Appropriations
EMC - Economic Matters
E&T - Environment and Transportation
HGO - Health and Government Operations
HRU - Rules and Executive Nominations
JUD - Judiciary
W&M - Ways and Means
B&T - Budget and Taxation
EEE - Education,Energy, and the Environment
EXN - Executive Nominations
FIN - Finance
JPR - Judicial Proceedings
SRU - Rules
Interested in joining one of the most dynamic and effective grassroots networks in Maryland? Contact your local chapter of The Arc and ask about joining their Governmental Affairs/Public Policy Committee. Visit our website here to locate your nearest chapter and learn more. Achieve with us!
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