The Arc Maryland's Weekly Legislative Update
 For the Week of March 25 - 29, 2019
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The Arc Maryland Celebrates World Down Syndrome Day

Last Thursday, March 21, The Arc Maryland celebrated the lives of people with Down syndrome and their families during World Down Syndrome Day at the State House.

With the support of our partners at the Maryland Catholic Conference, the Maryland Department of Disabilities, families, direct support professionals, and self-advocate adults and children, we were proud to be honored by the Maryland Senate, House of Delegates and First Lady Yumi Hogan, as they each offered Proclamations recognizing World Down Syndrome Day, now as an ann ua l state celebration. 

Thank you to everyone who joined  us for making World Down Syndrome Day 2019 so memorable.
The End-of-Life Options Act advances out of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee

On Friday, March 22, the Senate Judicial Proceedings committee voted 7 to 3 to advance SB311/HB399 with amendments after almost 7 hours of debate the previous evening.  The bill now heads to the full Senate and House for review and will likely go to a conference committee to work out the differences between the two bills.
  
Earlier in session, the House of Delegates narrowly passed HB399 with a vote of 74-66 with those voting against the bill voicing concern that the bill did not contain safeguards to adequately protect those who may be vulnerable to certain components of the bill.  Those vulnerable include people with mental health and intellectual/developmental disabilities and those with limited incomes who might be drawn to ending their lives at the prospect of more expensive alternatives to addressing health concerns.

The Arc Maryland is mildly comforted by amendments which would require a mental health evaluation of those seeking to end their lives, requirements that the physician witnesses not be related financially to one another (doctors of the same practice for example), a change in the definition of "terminal" to ensure a doctor is making a prognosis that a person's life will end in 6 months "to a reasonable degree of medical certainty'", the requirement that doctor's provide patients with information about alternatives to death (including available medical and treatment options), and removal of civil immunities for doctors and family members.  We believe these and other amendments offer much needed protections that were not in the original bill.  That said we fear the amendments may not be enough to completely allay concerns that this bill, if enacted, would create for Marylanders with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

For The Arc United States' position on Medical Aid in Dying/PAS, and to better understand these concerns, please click HERE.
To read more about the bill and the Senate bill amendments, please click HERE.

BillTracker Bill Tracker
(Click on the bill number in the chart to see the full bill)
ScheduleHearing Schedule*

*many of the bills have already been heard with decisions made in the bill's originating chamber.  Bills cross over to the opposite chamber starting on Monday, 3/18, and go through the review process of that chamber.  (You will therefore see bills that have already been highlighted in previous Insider issues)
March 26

House of Delegates:

HGO - 1 :00 P M, Room 241

SB 134
State Board of Nursing - Criminal History Records Checks - Certified Nursing Assistants and Certified Medication Technicians.

This bill has been amended from its original form to remove Certified Medication Technicians and to allow for summer work to determine how CMT backgrounds may be efficiently conducted to ensure timeliness of results, and safety of individuals receiving supports.

SB 330Public Buildings and Places of Public Accommodation - Diaper-Changing Facilities

This bill has undergone significant amendments and does not include changing stations that could accommodate the weight and size of a person over 4 years of age, but it is a start to what we need and we can build on the requirement for changing stations in future sessions.

March 27
 
Senate:

EHEA - 1:00 PM, Room 2 West, Miller

HB 381Baltimore County Public Schools - Student Misconduct - Penalty for Parent or Guardian

Renamed:  Baltimore County Anti-Bullying Task Force - Alterations- amended to create a task force to study bullying in Baltimore County Public Schools and discipline practices in response to findings of bullying. Amendments removed references to penalties for parents of guardians.


HB 439
Public Schools - School Resource Officers - Prohibited Conduct

This bill was amended to allow School Security employees, when needed, to respond to incidents in school.  School Resource Officers are still prohibited in this bill from engaging in discipline practices involving students.

HB 725Public Schools- Student Discipline- Restorative Practices

This bill was significantly amended to create regulations that incorporate the use of restorative practices in school discipline.

HB 1208Board of Restorative Practices in Schools- Establishment

This bill has been amended at The Arc Maryland's request to include a parent of a child with intellectual and developmental disabilities to serve on the Board of Restorative Practices in Schools.

HB 1229Restorative Schools Fund and Grants- Establishment

This bill establishes a Restorative Schools Fund and Grant Program but was amended to remove the mandate for the Governor to actually fund the grant program.  The framework will be created this year and we will need to work to advocate for the program to be funded in future years.

House of Delegates:

HGO - 1:00 PM, Room 241

SB 158
Maryland Department of Health - Community Dental Clinics Grant Program

This bill has remained largely intact with technical amendments to clarify the source of the Grant funds.

HB 1420Maryland Department of Health - Services for Individuals With Developmental Disabilities - Fee-for-Service Payment Pilot Program

This bill was submitted by DDA to create the mechanism for DDA to conduct a pilot to test LTSS and movement from a prospective payment system to a fee fir service payment system.  The Developmental Disabilities Coalition provided several amendments to definitions contained in the bill.  Some amendments were immediately accepted while others are under future review.  The Coalition will be submitting joint testimony to support the bill with amendments.

JUD - 1 :00 P M, Room 101

SB 732Child in Need of Assistance - Guardianship by Local Department - ABLE Accounts

SB 774Correctional Services - Restrictive Housing - Reporting by Correctional Units and Requirements Relating to Minors

T his bill has been amended but still contains protections, and treatment and reporting requirements to ensure Minors who are held have access to certain amenities and that the conditions of their restrictive housing are documented and have regular review.

March 28

Senate:

JPR - 12:00 PM, Room 2 East, Miller

HB 1233
Environment - Reduction of Lead Risk in Housing - Elevated Blood Lead Levels and Environmental Investigations (Maryland Healthy Children Act)

This bill requires the initiation of an investigation into the living environment of a child who tests positive with higher than normal levels of lead in their blood.

HB 1262Human Relations - Employment Discrimination and Discriminatory Housing Practices - Revisions

This bill was significantly amended.  Amendments include an extension of the time a person has to file a discrimination complaint, but removes the revised definition of "employer" so that people employed by small businesses will not have the same protections as larger employers as originally intended in the bill.

Please note: the following abbreviations identify the legislative committees in the Maryland General Assembly.Abrv

House of Delegates
  • Appropriations Committee - APP
  • Economic Matters Committee - EMC
  • Environment and Transportation Committee - E&T
  • Health and Government Operations Committee - HGO
  • Judicial Committee - JUD
  • Ways and Means Committee - W&M
Senate 
  • Budget & Taxation Committee - B&T
  • Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee - EHEA
  • Finance Committee - FIN
  • Judicial Proceedings Committee - JPR
The Arc Maryland Public Policy Team 
Ande Kolp, Executive Director
Bea Rodgers, Governmental Affairs Committee Chair
Laura Carr, Board President and Governmental Affairs Liaison
Grace Williams, Assistant Director of Public Policy and Advocacy
Edward Willard, Policy Analyst
Lori Scott, Liaison to the Education Advocacy Coalition

Want to join our Governmental Affairs Committee?  Call Luc Chausse at 410-571-9320 for more information.
The Arc Maryland | (410) 571-9320  | info@thearcmd.org  | www.thearcmd.org