The Arc Maryland's Weekly Legislative Update
 For the Week of January 14-18, 2019
Greetings from The Arc Maryland Policy Team!

We welcome you to the first edition of the Annapolis Insider Newsletter of the 2019 Legislative Session. The Annapolis Insider is here to keep you updated and informed on the Maryland budget and bills during the current legislative session, from now until April 8, 2019 (Sine Die).

Through our "bill tracker" each week, you will be able to see a brief description as well as the full text of bills The Arc Maryland is monitoring and that have implications (direct and indirect) for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. If you see any bills you are interested in following or helping us track, please contact us!

We are reviewing bills at this time that have been pre-filed or filed as of January 11.  Most bills of interest are in the first reading (pre-hearing) stage.  We will be attending a hearings this week and continuing meetings with members of the General Assembly on a few of the bills about which we have questions, concerns, or suggestions. 

As the session goes on, and we take positions on bills that align with our Public Policy Platform and goals, you will be able to track changes on our interactive bill chart as well as monitor activity.

Keep our advocacy strong and look for our bill tracker beginning with the 1/21/19 'insider'!  In the meantime, click on the bill links below for full text versions of each.  

We have a lot of work ahead of us in the 2019 Legislative Session and beyond and hope you will be a part the advocacy effort!

- Ande Kolp, Executive Director, The Arc Maryland
*For a key of the Committee abbreviations, please click here or see  the end of this Newsletter*

Important Dates for your Calendar

January 9- First Day of Maryland Legislative Session
January 10- Calendar Day

January 18- Governor's proposed FY20 budget is presented
February 13- DD Day at the Legislature, presented by the Developmental Disabilities Coalition.  Go to The Arc Maryland facebook event page to register!
February 25- DDA Budget hearing in the House* Health and Social Services Subcommittee, 3 p.m. House Office Building Room 150
March 4- DDA Budget decision in the House* Health and Social Services Subcommittee, 3 p.m. House Office Building Room 150
March 7-DDA budget hearing in the Senate* Health and Human Services Subcommittee, 1 p.m. Miller Senate Building, William Amos Room, 4th Floor
March 11- DDA budget decision in the Senate* Health and Human Services Subcommittee, 1 p.m. Miller Senate Building, William Amos Room, 4th Floor
March 18- "Cross-over" date
April 8- Last Day of Session (Sine Die)
* note that hearing dates, times and locations may change
 Notable Bills This Week
: Occupational Licenses or Certificates- Application Determinations- Use of Criminal History

Primary Sponsor:  Delegate Sydnor
Description:  This bill would prohibit certain departments (Maryland Department of Health and the Department of Human Services are amongst those departments named) that issue occupational licenses or certificates from blanket denials of applications for licenses/certifications based on an applicants criminal history if a certain period of time has passed.  Requiring the departments to assess whether the applicant's previous conviction has any impact on the applicants fitness or ability to perform, and whether or not the issuance of the license or certificate would involve an "unreasonable risk" to property or the safety of specific individuals.

Status: First reading in the House on January 9.  No hearing scheduled yet.

Position: Monitor.  The Arc Maryland is collecting additional information on this bill.  We are primarily concerned that the health and safety of people with I/DD is given highest consideration.  Furthermore, we are researching possible implications for community providers in running/re-running background checks and the responsibility providers may have for making determinations about whether or not the behavior leading to a former conviction could pose an unreasonable risk to safety of vulnerable adults.

HB31 : Baltimore City- Weapons on School Property- School Resource Officer  
Primary Sponsor:  Delegate Glenn
Description:  This bill seeks to allow school resource officers who are assigned to public schools in Baltimore City to carry or possess certain weapons on public school property.

Status: First reading in the House on January 9.  No hearing scheduled yet.

Position: Oppose, in partnership with the CRSD.  According to the most recent available Maryland Public Schools arrest data (15-16), children with disabilities and IEPS or 504 plans, and children of color were arrested at rates significantly higher than the entire school population in Maryland, especially in Baltimore County and Prince George's County. In Baltimore City, where there were 90 school arrests in the 2015-16 school year, most of the charges were later dropped, raising the question about whether the arrests were justified.  We are all interested in keeping students safe, and without a shift in current practices, embracement of positive and restorative discipline practices in our schools and better training for teachers and resource officers, we believe that arming SROs could result in unintended consequences for students and others.

For more information, check out the following links:

SB16 : Workgroup on Categories for Funding Priorities in the Annual State Budget
Primary Sponsor:  Senator Serafini
Description:  The bill would establish a workgroup to make recommendations on categories for funding priorities in the annual state budget.

Status: Hearing scheduled for January 17, 10:30 a.m. in Budget and Taxation Committee

Position: Monitor while gathering more information. 

SB77 : Estates and Trusts- Protections of Minors and Disabled Persons- Guardianship
Primary Sponsor:  Senator Lam
Description:  The bill alters current jurisdiction of orphan's and circuit courts over certain guardianship case proceedings, moving cases involving people with intellectual disabilities to the orphans' courts, and requires certain fees to be paid by the person on which the guardianship petition is filed to cover attorney and filing fees. 

Status: Hearing scheduled for January 22, 1 p.m. in the Judicial Proceedings Committee

Position: Monitor while gathering more information. We are concerned about the impetus for the suggested changes and will meet with Senator Lam and an attorney for more information prior to taking an official position. 

One of the concerns we have is that it is our understanding that the credential requirements of Orphans' courts "judges" are not uniform throughout the counties of the state, and therefore, judges may not be qualified to make certain determinations.  For example, in Howard County, those elected to a seat on the Orphan's court are not currently required to have a law degree or legal experience, thus the Orphans' court Judges may not truly be "judges" qualified to make a determination about the competency of a person with disabilities.
Apps to keep you connected!

There are some pretty great apps out there for your electronic devices that you can use to help you connect with your representatives and tell your story.

Our top picks are here:

Through the Verizon Maryland Government Directory app, you can find information on your Maryland state elected officials including the committees on which they serve, their physical and email addresses, phone numbers and room numbers.  Search by the app name shown in the image here or by "Maryland General Assembly" in the App store.  It's free!

Te lling Your Story is another gre at ap p that helps you frame and wr ite about your issue or story.  You can attach pictures through the app to illustrate your points and then send your story off to your representatives.  
It is also free.

Know of any other great resources?  Let us know by contacting Luc Chausse.
Please note: the following abbreviations identify the legislative committees in the Maryland General Assembly.

House of Delegates
  • 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
  • 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.