The Arc Maryland's Weekly Legislative Update
Week of Session: March 29 to April 2, 2021
Stay up to date on legislation we are keeping tabs on through our Bill Tracker! View position statements, access bill text, and check hearing times and dates.
Brynleigh's Act Stalled in Committee
Despite a swell of advocacy which included calls, emails, social media, news media, and a proclamation of "Purple Day" in Maryland on March 26th, Bryneigh's Act (HB0370/SB0225) remains held in the W&M and EHEA committees. The bill would have required at least two personnel in every school to be trained to respond to a seizure emergency and would have provided a safer school environment for approximately 8,000 students in the state who experience seizures. The lack of action on this bill is disheartening, as we witness neighboring states (Virginia and Pennsylvania) advance similar legislation for seizure-safe schools.
Transitioning Youth Education Extension Bill Unlikely To Move
Special Education - Prolonged School Closure - Extension of Education Services (HB0724/SB0209) also does not appear likely to make it out of committee this session. The legislation would have provided an option for students in their final years of high school to extend their transition services/education an additional year due to prolonged school closure. In a positive move, the Kirwan Commission (Education Reform) bill veto override occurred last week, paving the way for some assistance to transitioning youth. However, we are concerned it will not come soon enough for those students scheduled for exit in May and June of this year.
Commission Meeting Discussion on RELIEF Act DD Fund:
Wednesday, 3/31 at 2 PM
Included in the RELIEF Act (HB0612/SB0496) amendments from Senate Leadership is $5 million in funding for DD Community Service Providers. This funding is earmarked to provide funding assistance with pandemic-related reopening, transformation, and revenue loss.

The Community Health Resources Commission is meeting on Wednesday, 3/31, from 2 to 4 PM to discuss the distribution of this DDA funding. Listen to the Commission meeting through the credentials below:

Call-in Number: 1-617-675-4444
Password: 814 064 474
Schrader Confirmation Hearing Today at 5 PM
The Acting Secretary of Health, Dennis Schrader, is scheduled to appear before the Senate Executive Nominations Committee today at 5 PM for a review of his nomination to become the next Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health. Mr. Robert Neall held this position for several years until his retirement this past fall. Dennis Schrader has been the Acting Secretary of the Department for the past few months. You can tune into the hearing here at 5 PM.
Maryland Essential Workers' Protection Act: Subcommittee Discussions Winding Down As Bill Is Amended
The Maryland Essential Workers' Protection Act (SB0486/HB0581) is likely in its final subcommittee discussion meeting/meetings before it circles back for action by the Committees. Tune in to the Business Regulation Subcommittee (EMC) today at 3 PM to review the current posture of the bill.
Amendments Made to Public School- School Resource Officers - Prohibited Conduct Bill
Public Schools - School Resource Officers - Prohibited Conduct (HB0522) has received amendments which change from prohibiting SROs from enforcing school discipline to now restricting their involvement in certain matters. Through the amended bill, school administrators would receive training on restorative practices to enhance the ability to manage incidents in school without the involvement of an SRO. Watch the hearing tomorrow at 1 PM in EHEA. 
Maryland SAFE Act Progressing: Hearing 3/30 at 1:30 PM
The Maryland SAFE Act (SB0327) creates civil penalties for those who financially exploit people with disabilities. The bill is set for a hearing tomorrow, 3/30, at 1:30 PM in W&M with amendments that clarify and strengthen the bill.
Update On Independent Educational Evaluations Legislation
Special Education - Individualized Education Programs - Educational Evaluations (SB0371/HB0716) would allow parents to obtain an evaluation at the school's expense when the school has not provided the evaluation within prescribed time frames. The Senate version of the bill (SB0371) is set for a hearing on Wednesday, 3/31 at 1:30 PM in the House W&M Committee. This has been critical for families during the pandemic, as thousands of parents across the state have not been able to have their children evaluated or re-evaluated for education access supports as of 3/16.
Update On the State Budget
The General Assembly is now deep in the process of passing a balanced budget. A conference committee with select members of both the House and Senate is meeting this week to reconcile differences in the budget bill amendments between the two chambers. With state revenues now significantly better than expected with help from the federal stimulus packages, Maryland is in a very unique position of being able to fund some critical new initiatives while also meeting funding mandates.
Changes to the State Song
After a multi-year effort, our state song, “Maryland, My Maryland” is going away. The repeal of this song to represent the state was a priority of House speaker Adrienne Jones and many others in the General Assembly. It has not yet been decided what song will replace the old song as there will likely be a careful review and vetting process before a replacement is proposed. 
The Arc Maryland State Convention Is Back! Join Us May 17th!
Registration for our 2021 State Convention is now open! You don’t want to miss the opportunity to hear from Plenary Speaker Judy Heumann, a nationally recognized Civil Rights Advocate for people with disabilities! Navigate through innovative ideas in advocacy, technology, communications, and more during Breakout Sessions led by subject experts from across the state.
Nominate Community Leaders For Our Annual Awards!
Honor the achievements of Community Leaders by nominating them for one of The Arc Maryland's Statewide, Annual Awards! Our Annual Awards recognizes individuals, groups, and communities whose contributions to the field of IDD represent meritorious service or achievement and warrant special statewide recognition. If someone is doing outstanding work in the community, we want to know!
Tuesday, March 30th at 1:00 PM In Senate, EHEA
  • HB0522: Public Schools - School Resource Officers - Prohibited Conduct
  • HB1166: Education – Physical Restraint and Seclusion – Requirements, Reporting, and Training
Tuesday, March 30th at 1:00 PM In Senate, JPR
  • HB1000: Estates and Trusts - Guardian of Property of Minor or Disabled Person - Prohibition on Distribution or Disbursement
Tuesday, March 30th at 1:30 PM In House, HGO
  • SB0741: COVID-19 Testing, Contact Tracing, and Vaccination Act of 2021
  • SB0796: Maryland Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities and Maryland Health Care Commission – Reporting Requirements
Wednesday, March 31st at 1:30 PM In House, JUD
  • SB0327: Civil Actions - Financial Exploitation of Vulnerable Adults (Maryland SAFE Act)
Wednesday, March 31st at 1:30 PM In House, W&M
  • SB0371: Special Education - Individualized Education Programs - Educational Evaluations
Thursday, April 1st at 1:30 PM In House, JUD
  • SB0607: Criminal Law - Harm to Service Animals
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
JUD - Judiciary
W&M - Ways and Means
HRU - Rules and Executive Nominations
B&T - Budget and Taxation
EHEA - Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs
FIN - Finance
JPR - Judicial Proceedings
EXN - Executive Nominations
SRU - Rules