The Arc Maryland's Weekly Legislative Update
Week of Session: March 14 to 18, 2022
Stay up to date on legislation through our Bill Tracker! View position statements, access bill text, and check hearing times and dates.
HB1255 - Education- Physical Restraint and Seclusion- Limitations, Reporting, and Training
Position: Support

Current Status:
In House, Hearing was on 3/10 in W&M

Pictured is Delegate Eric Ebersole, House Sponsor of the bill, testifying in W&M last week.

This legislation would end the use of seclusion in all public schools and significantly reduce the use of seclusion in non-public schools. The bill would be tremendous progress towards reducing and eliminating restraint and seclusion respectively in Maryland schools. It would also expand reporting, data collection, and analysis for schools.

Once again, parents and other advocates came out in force to testify on the impacts of restraint and seclusion on children. MSDE Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Mohammed Choudhury, again provided testimony in support with an amendment to go further than what the bill currently would require - to extend the restrictions to non-public schools.
SB0868 / HB1020 - Developmental Disabilities Administration – Self–Directed Services (Self–Direction Act of 2022)
Position: Letter of Information and possible Support if Amended (see below)

Current Status:
SB0868 - In Senate, Hearing was on 3/8 in FIN
HB1020 - In House, Hearing was on 3/10 in HGO

Pictured are proponents of the Self Direction Act, testifying last week in the Senate FIN hearing.

This legislation would require the DDA to establish and provide training materials to coordinators of community services (CCS) on self-directed services and require CCSs to educate recipients on self-directed services. It would also require that home- and community-based services waiver recipients receive support broker services and awake overnight supports. There are elements of the bill that would prevent the Department from placing caps or limitations on certain services.

The Arc Maryland was part of a workgroup that met extensively over the summer and this bill, in large part, is an outgrowth of that work. We agree that Self-Directed Services definitions and current caps must be reviewed and revised to meet the needs of self-directing participants and their families. We are interested in seeing a restoration of certain definitions and services. There are a couple of components that expressed concerns about but we have been in conversations with SDAN about them. We understand there may be some additional amendments and removals or adjustments of some of the bill provisions from our list of recommendations and on which we agree.
HB0226 - Public Schools - Self-Contained Special Education Classroom Video Recording Pilot Program
Position: Support

Current Status:
HB0226 - Passed House
Chamber as a Pilot with other amendments

Pictured is the floor vote on Third Reading and Final Passage of HB0226.

This bill would require county boards of education to install a video recording device in ten self-contained special education classrooms in the state, report data on the costs of installation and maintenance, and report data on the effectiveness of the devices both as a deterrent and as a tool to investigate abuse and neglect claims. 

Schools will be selected for the pilot from five local school systems by MSDE, with consideration given to schools with high enrollment, high reports of restraint and seclusion, and other indicators. 

Next, we hope the Senate companion bill (SB0577) will move out of the EHEA committee this week. The House bill (as adopted with amendments) now crosses over to the Senate.
HB1332 - State and Local Parks - Playground Accessibility - Communication Boards
Position: Support with Amendments

Current Status:
In House, Hearing was on 3/9 in E&T

Pictured is a young child using a playground communication board.

This bill would require the Department of Natural Resources and local governing bodies to construct a communication board in each public playground by October 1, 2027. It also defines a "communication board" as a device that displays photos, symbols, or illustrations to enable individuals with limited language skills to express themselves and communicate. The bill would provide for the funding of communication board construction.

The Arc Maryland provided testimony in support of the legislation with amendments to re-define communication boards and detail preferred components of the boards for consistency across the state.
HB1403 - Maryland Department of Health - Waiver Programs - Waitlist Reduction (End the Wait Act)
Position: Support

Current Status:
In House, Hearing 3/15 at 1:30 PM, HGO

Pictured is a mother carrying her young child.

This legislation would require the Maryland Department of Health to develop plans to reduce the waitlist for waiver programs by 50% beginning in FY24. The plans must include a review of current provider capacity and rates for sufficiency. A clarifying amendment notes the Autism Waiver Registry would be "cleaned up," and for the eligible individuals on that list, a plan would be developed to serve 50%.
Cross Over Day - March 21st
March 21 is the "Opposite Chamber Bill Crossover" date. Each Chamber is to send bills it intends to pass favorably to the other Chamber by this date. Opposite Chamber bills received after this date will be subject to referral to Rules Committees (Senate Rule 32(c), House Courtesy Date). 

As our legislative session is only 90 days long, bills will have the best chance of making it through the process to becoming law if they cross over by this date. All Committees aim for reporting their bills out of Committees no later than Tuesday, March 15th, so there is time for the originating Chambers to take them up for floor votes in time for Cross Over day!

Bills that have matching "Companion" bills (Senate and House Bills that are presented with the same bill text and title) are typically heard in the Opposite Chamber after this date with "Sponsor Only" testimony.
SB0299 - Education - Public and Nonpublic Schools - Seizure Action Plans (Brynleigh's Act)
Position: Support

Current Status:
Crossing Over- In House, Hearing 3/24 at 1 PM, W&M
Testimony will be Sponsor only.

Brynleigh's Act requires school personnel to be trained in seizure recognition and response and consistency in Seizure Action Plan development for students with seizure conditions.
Monday, March 14th at 2:00 PM In House, HGO
  • HB1379: Hospitals, Related Institutions, and Hospice Facilities - COVID-19 and Other Catastrophic Health Emergencies - Visitation
Tuesday, March 15th at 1:00 PM In Senate, B&T
  • SB0919: Child Care Capital Support Revolving Loan Fund - Established
Tuesday, March 15th at 1:00 PM In Senate, EHEA
  • SB0920: Early Childhood Development - Child Care Scholarship Program - Alterations
Tuesday, March 15th at 1:30 PM In House, HGO
  • HB1403: Maryland Department of Health - Waiver Programs - Waitlist Reduction (End the Wait Act)
Wednesday, March 23rd at 1:00 PM In House, W&M
  • SB0093: Tax Credits - Employment of Individuals With Disabilities
Thursday, March 24th at 1:00 PM In House, W&M
  • SB0119: Education – Crimes on School Grounds – Application
  • SB0299: Education - Public and Nonpublic Schools - Seizure Action Plans (Brynleigh's Act)
  • SB0617: Local School Systems - Equivalent Access Standards - Digital Tools (Nonvisual Access Accountability Act for K-12 Education)
Please note that 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
EHEA - Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs
EXN - Executive Nominations
FIN - Finance
JPR - Judicial Proceedings
SRU - Rules
R&R - Reapportionment and Redistricting
The Maryland Celebration of World Down Syndrome Day is on March 21! Check out event details on our website!
The Arc Maryland Annual Convention and Awards Celebrations are on May 17th at Turf Valley in Ellicott City Maryland. Check out our website for more information on Sponsor and Exhibitor opportunities, and to nominate someone for one of our statewide advocacy and service awards. Tickets will be available soon!