The Arc Maryland's Weekly Legislative Update
Today is Sine Die (the last day of the 2018 Maryland Legislative Session)
Please check out our bill tracker and
the bills heading to the Governor's desk below.
*For a key of the Committee abbreviations, please
end of this Newsletter*
The Budget and BRFA bills passed by both chambers were signed by the Governor and include a restoration of the 3.5% increase promised for DDA Community Services!
Please send "thank you" emails and personalized notes to your representatives in the House and Senate for their work to restore these funds. It was a long road this session to get the funding restored, but it was not nearly as difficult as what we anticipate the 2019 session will bring. With the elections coming this November, we will have some new relationships to build and existing ones to continue to cultivate. We must remain connected to our representatives over the summer and fall, and establish relationships with any new legislators to ensure they are informed about the needs of their constituents with disabilities and their families.
To see a list of 2018 Maryland state and federal legislative office candidates, click here.
Minimum Wage and the "Fight for 15"
Last week, a small rally took place on Lawyers Mall in Annapolis in support of HB 664 / SB 543: Labor and Employment- Payment of the Minimum Wage Required (also known as the "Fight for 15" bill.
HB 664/SB 543 proposes to increase the state minimum wage incrementally to $15 per hour by July 1, 2023, and then by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) every year beginning July 1, 2024.
The bill includes a provision to increase Developmental Disabilities funding for Community Providers each year to address Direct Care Provider wages with related expenses and COLA. Funding would be increased by 7% in FY20, followed by 5.5% in each of the years
FY21 to FY24. This provision is designed to keep the wage factor in the DD rate at a certain percentage above minimum wage as the state minimum wage increases.
At this point in the session, it appears the Fight for 15 bill will not move, but we expect it will be back next year. Stay tuned!
Here is an update on Last Week's Notable Hearings and Decisions
HB798 : Visual Impairments
Requirements for Student Screening Student Vision Screening and Information (Atticus Act)- PASSED Both Chambers
requires certain vision screenings to be given to students at certain points in the educational journey, unless evidence is presented that the student has been tested by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. It also requires the results of certain screenings be given to the parents or guardians of certain students with certain educational materials and that certain additional information be provided to the parents or guardians of students who fail a school vision screening. The bill dictates student screening requirements for and what information shall be required to share with parents or guardians on visual impairments.
A segment of the bill text is here:
Unless evidence is presented that a student has been tested BY AN OPTOMETRIST OR OPHTHALMOLOGIST within the past year, the screenings 10 required under subsection (a) of this section shall be given in the year that a student enters a school system, enters the first grade, and enters the eighth or ninth grade. Further screening shall be done in accordance with: (i) The bylaws adopted by the State Board; or (ii) Policies adopted by a county board or a county health.
SB1265: Safe to Learn Act of 2018
Description: This bill requires each public school in the State, by the 2020-2021 school year, to have secure, lockable classroom doors, an area of safe refuge in each classroom, and security technology for school monitoring purposes. It requires the State Department of Education, in collaboration with the Maryland Center for School Safety, to adopt certain school safety facility requirements and requires each public school to complete an active threat drill beginning in the 2019-2020 school year.
Position: The Arc Maryland supports this bill with suggested amendments to include proper considerations for students with disabilities during active shooter drills and emergency shelter or evacuation drills. The bill creates a subcommittee which includes a parent of a child with disabilities as one of its required members.
Status: The bill has passed in the Senate and is on Second Reader in the House with amendments.
|Click here for The Arc Maryland Bill Tracker. (Click on the bill number in the chart to see the full bill)
Bills Headed to the Governor's Desk
While we expect several more bills on our bill tracker list to make it through the House and Senate chambers today, here is a running list of what is already going to the Governor's desk for signing (as of Friday, 4/6/18.)
Please check the bills via the links to see amendments that have been made to several bills since their introduction!
Community Living Bills
- HB 287/SB 461 - Selling or Providing Alcoholic Beverages to Individuals With Intellectual Disabilities and Others - Repeal of Prohibition
- Repealing provisions of law in Allegany, Carroll, Charles, Harford, Kent, Montgomery, Queen Anne's, and Washington counties that prohibit a license holder or an employee from knowingly selling or providing an alcoholic beverage to an individual with an intellectual disability or to an individual if a family member or guardian has given written notice to the license holder or employee under certain circumstances.
- HB 287 was passed on March 25; SB 461 was passed on March 23
- HB 782/SB 550 - Maryland Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Program - Modifications
- Providing that certain money in the Maryland Prepaid College Trust may not be considered money of or be commingled with the Maryland Broker-Dealer College Investment Plan or the Maryland ABLE program; requiring the Maryland 529 Board to allow the transfer of funds from certain trusts and plans to any qualified ABLE program; altering the limit on money and assets that a certain account holder can contribute to an ABLE account during a certain period of time.
- HB 782 was passed on March 30; SB 550 was passed on March 29
- SB 39 - Motor Vehicle Administration - Disability Parking Placards
- Establishing that a disability parking placard issued by the Motor Vehicle Administration to a permanently disabled individual is valid until the death of the placard holder; establishing certain procedures the Administration must follow on the death of a permanently disabled individual who holds a placard; and authorizing the Administration to issue temporary disability parking placards to certain nonresidents of the State under certain circumstances.
- SB 39 was passed on April 5
Education and Childcare Bills
- HB 798 - Visual Impairments - Requirements for Student Vision Screening and Information (Atticus Act)
- Requiring certain vision screenings to be given in the year that a student enters a school system, enters the first grade, and enters the eighth or ninth grade unless evidence is presented that a student has been tested by an optometrist or ophthalmologist within the past year; requiring the results of certain screenings be given to the parents or guardians of certain students with certain educational materials; and requiring that certain additional information be provided to parents or guardians of students who fail a certain vision screening.
- HB 798 was passed on April 5
- HB 814 - Workers' Compensation - Students in Unpaid Work-Based Learning Experiences
- Authorizing all county boards of education, rather than only certain county boards of education, to waive the requirement that a participating employer reimburse the county for the cost of the premium for workers' compensation coverage provided to students placed in unpaid work-based learning experiences or pay a certain fee.
- HB 814 was passed on April 2
- HB 568 - Education - Student Data Governance
- Requiring the State Department of Education, in consultation with the Department of Information Technology and county boards of education, to develop and update certain best practices for certain county boards on data governance policies and procedures and for certain professional development; requiring the State Department of Education to develop certain strategies to coordinate and assist certain data governance staff to implement certain practices; defining certain terms.
- HB 568 was passed on March 29
- HB 1072 - Education - Child Sexual Abuse Prevention - Instruction and Training
- Requiring a county board of education or a nonpublic school that receives State funds to require each employee to receive annual training on the prevention, identification, and reporting of child sexual abuse; authorizing the instruction and training to include information to help employees recognize and respond to incidents of sexual misconduct; requiring the Interagency Committee on School Construction and the State Council on Child Abuse to develop best practices to reduce opportunities for child sexual abuse.
- HB 1072 was passed on April 5
- HB 1254 - Education - School Discipline - Data Collection
- Requiring the State Department of Education to disaggregate the information in any student discipline data reports by race, ethnicity, gender, disability status, eligibility for free or reduced price meals or an equivalent measure of socioeconomic status, and English language proficiency; requiring that special education data in a certain student discipline data report be disaggregated by race, ethnicity, and gender; and requiring the Department to collect certain data on alternative school discipline practices.
- HB 1254 was passed on April 5
- HB 33 - Guardianship of Disabled Persons - Voluntary Admission to Mental Facility
- Authorizing a certain disabled person to apply for voluntary admission to a mental facility if the person submits a formal written application and either a physician and a psychologist, two physicians, or a physician and a psychiatric nurse practioner provide a certain certification; requiring the facility to notify the guardian of the person of a disabled person that the disabled person has been admitted to the facility and of a certain request for discharge from the facility.
- HB 33 was passed on March 30
- HB 251 - Education - Family Life and Human Sexuality Curriculum - Boundaries and Consent
- Requiring a county board of education to provide age-appropriate instruction on the meaning of "consent" which is defined as the unambiguous and voluntary agreement between all participants in each physical act within the course of interpersonal relationships, including respect for personal boundaries; and requiring the county board to provide age-appropriate instruction on the meaning of "consent" as part of the Family Life and Human Sexuality curriculum beginning in the 2018-2019 school year.
- HB 251 was passed on April 3
- HB 427 - Public School - Student Sunscreen Use - Policy
- Requiring each county board of education to adopt a certain written policy to authorize a student to possess and use sunscreen on school property or at a school-sponsored activity without written permission from a health care provider; and requiring each county board to encourage public schools to educate students about sunscreen, sun safety, and the policy established under the Act.
- HB 427 was passed on April 3
- HB 115 - Maryland Health Care Commission - Electronic Prescription Records System - Assessment and Report
- Requiring the Maryland Health Care Commission, in consultation with interested stakeholders, to assess the benefits and feasibility of developing an electronic system to allow health care providers to access a patient's prescription medication history; requiring the Commission to report its findings to the Governor and the General Assembly by January 1, 2020; specifying it is the intent of the General Assembly that the Commission work toward development of an electronic system for certain purposes.
- HB 115 was passed on March 30
- HB 1130 - Residential Treatment Centers - Mandatory Reporting of Inappropriate Sexual Behavior
- Requiring that certain residential treatment centers be subject to certain reporting requirements regarding inappropriate sexual behavior established by the Maryland Department of Health under certain regulations; and defining "inappropriate sexual behavior".
- HB 1130 was passed on April 2
- HB 1517 - Behavioral Health Services and Voluntary Placement Agreements - Children and Young Adults - Reports
- Requiring the Director of the Behavioral Health Administration to prepare a certain annual report on behavioral health services for children and young adults in the State; requiring the Social Services Administration within the Department of Human Services to prepare a certain annual report.
- HB 1517 was passed on April 5
- SB 977 - Behavioral Health Services and Voluntary Placement Agreements - Children and Young Adults - Reports
- Requiring the Director of the Behavioral Health Administration by December 1 each year to submit a report on behavioral health services for children and young adults in the State to the Governor and the General Assembly; requiring the Social Services Administration by December 1 each year to submit a report on voluntary placement agreements for children and young adults in the State to the Governor and the General Assembly.
- SB 977 was passed on April 5
Justice and Civil Rights Bills
- HB 111 - Maryland Department of Health - Defendants Found Incompetent to Stand Trial or Not Criminally Responsible - Commitment
- Requiring a court to order a certain defendant committed to a certain facility if the court makes a certain finding; requiring the Maryland Department of Health to admit a certain defendant to a designated facility as soon as possible, but not later than 10 business days, after the Department receives the commitment order; requiring the Department to notify the court as to the date of admittance of the defendant; authorizing a court to impose certain sanctions if the Department fails to admit a defendant within a certain time.
- HB 111 was passed on April 3
Federal Action Needed:
Protect Our Food Assistance!
Action is needed today, April 9, 2018: Call the USDA
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is collecting comments on whether changes should be made to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that will lead to some people losing critical food and nutrition assistance.
Roughly 1 in 4 non-elderly SNAP beneficiaries, or 11 million people, have a disability. It's vital that SNAP be there for people with disabilities and their families when they need it.
Instead of providing these assurances, the USDA is exploring proposals that would cut SNAP
access. Ideas include making more people subject to arbitrary 3-month time limits for SNAP benefits and imposing more difficult reporting requirements. The changes that are being considered by the USDA would have greater negative impacts on people who lose their job and can't find a new one, or can't meet the proposed (and more strict) work or training requirements. The Arc estimates that most of the negative impacts of the proposed changes to SNAP would fall to people with disabilities and chronic health conditions, and their families.
Please act now:
- Submit comments to the USDA to protect access to food assistance under SNAP, including SNAP for people with disabilities.
- Please submit your comments by today, April 9, 2018 by clicking here.
Sample activist comments:
I oppose any action by USDA to impose stricter time limits in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Already, SNAP time limit rules are unfair. The USDA should not make the situation worse by taking away state flexibility or exposing more people to arbitrary time limits. The proposed changes to the SNAP would lead to many people with disabilities and chronic health conditions losing needed help to put food on the table for themselves and their families. People with disabilities are already at least twice as likely to be unable to afford to meet their nutritional needs than people without disabilities. I urge you not to change the SNAP rules in any way that makes it more likely that workers and job-seekers - including people with disabilities - will go hungry because they can no longer receive SNAP. Thank you.
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
Tonia Ferguson, Esq., Director of Public Policy & Special Initiatives
Lori Scott, RN, MS, Public Policy Fellow
Grace Williams, Public Policy Fellow