The Arc Maryland's Weekly Legislative Update
For the Week of March 26 - 30, 2018
SIne Die is two weeks away!
Please check out our bill tracker and
the hearing schedule below.
*For a key of the Committee abbreviations, please
end of this Newsletter*
Disability Awareness Month and Down Syndrome
Awareness Day Celebrations
Last Friday, The Arc received special proclamations on the floors of the House and Senate and also attended a special presentation of a proclamation from the Governor's office by Secretary Carol Beatty to recognize Down Syndrome Awareness Day.
During the Senate presentation, Senator Mac Middleton recognized the work that retiring Senator Kasemeyer has done over the years on behalf of the disability community and also called on his colleagues to prioritize funding for services for individuals with developmental disabilities and providers; to ensure the availability of quality community services and supports now and into the future. Thank you to all who attended the events of the day and joined in the presentations and thank you to our stalwart champions in the legislature!
(pictured are Senator Mac Middleton, Martha Brown (The Arc CCR), Kimberly and Catherine Smith, Ande Kolp (The Arc MD), Senate President Mike Miller (background) Senator Kasemeyer, Senator Guzzone, and Senator Peters)
Here is a Recap of Last Week's Notable Hearings
HB 251/SB 402: 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 a 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 2018-1019 school year.
Status: HB 251 passed in House (117-17), First Reading in EHEA in Senate; SB 402 passed in Senate (45-0), Post Hearing, Awaiting Report from W&M in House
The Arc Maryland submitted written testimony. We support
a proactive approach to minimizing sexual assaults by teaching students about the meaning of consent. We support developing awareness of personal interactions, especially when it comes to consent in human sexuality and boundaries.
HB 427/ SB 217: Public Schools - 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.
Status: HB 427 passed in House (135-0), First Reading in EHEA in the Senate; SB 217 passed in Senate (44-0), Post Hearing, Awaiting Report from W&M in House
Position: The Arc Maryland submitted written testimony in support of a policy that includes students with I/DD who have access to sunscreen at school. T
he existing MSDE School Health Service Guidelines do not address the need to support students with disabilities with sun protection. Current guidelines allow medications and treatments to be given at school with parental permission but do not allow sunscreen to be used in school. Some students with disabilities take medication that increases their photosensitivity, placing them at increased risk of sunburn when outside during the school day. This bill will allow all students in school to be protected from burns and students with disabilities to receive assistance to apply sunscreen for protection.
Requiring each county board of education to employ a designated security administrator; requiring each county board to prepare a school emergency plan for all public schools in the county; requiring each county board to perform a safety assessment of each public school in the county each year; requiring each county board to establish a school threat assessment team; establishing the Safe Schools Fund to provide grants to county boards for the implementation of approved school emergency plans.
Status: Post Hearing, Awaiting Report from W&M
Position: The Arc Maryland submitted a letter of information to support students with disabilities in public schools and to make sure they are fully considered in all emergency planning efforts and that we have a voice to collaborate with the MD Safe Schools Center to that end. It is imperative that students with disabilities, and others who need assistance during evacuations and drills, have the support they need to ensure their safety in schools.
Update on a few Children's Bills and Next Steps
At this point in the session, bills have "crossed over" to the other house (Senate bills go to the House and House bills go to the Senate) and are in the process of being read, amended, passed, laid over, or determined unfavorable. In addition, votes are occurring throughout the week in second and third readings of bills on the floors of the Senate and House. Please click on the bill tracker link below to see specific actions at this point and to read the text of amended bills. The following are some highlights from this past week:
Education - Students With Reading Difficulties - Screenings and Interventions
Bills HB 910 and SB 548 require that certain county boards of education ensure that a certain student is screened to identify if the student is at risk for reading difficulties beginning with the 2019-2020 school year.
HB 910 has passed the House of Delegates with Favorable Report with amendments and now pending in the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee. The companion bill SB 548, sponsored by Senator Conway is set aside to consider the House bill and amendments. The amendments create a bill that both advocates and school districts can support.
Highlights of some of the Amendments:
[ "SCREENING" MEANS A BRIEF ASSESSMENT OF EARLY LITERACY SKILLS OR ABILITIES THAT IS HIGHLY PREDICTIVE OF LATER OUTCOMES WITH MEASURES THAT FOCUS ON SPECIFIC PRE-READING AND READING SKILLS THAT ARE HIGHLY CORRELATED WITH BROADER MEASURES OF READING ACHIEVEMENT] [FOR A STUDENT IN PREKINDERGARTEN, A COUNTY BOARD SHALL USE ONE OR MORE SCREENING INSTRUMENTS THAT INCLUDE PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS AND PHONEMIC PROCESSING THAT ARE DEVELOPMENTALLY APPROPRIATE]
Support. The Arc Maryland supports these amendments and will work with our partner the Education Advocacy Coalition to make sure once the bill clears the House and Senate we continue to advocate to let Governor Hogan know why how important this bill to support our schools and how to will help all students to be screened and help students at risk for reading difficulty to be further evaluated to determine what instruction they may need.
Visual Impairments - Requirements for Student Vision Screening and Information (Atticus Act)
Bills HB 798/SB 570 requiring a vision screening provided to certain students in public schools to include the administration of a screening for certain visual impairments; requiring screenings to be given in certain years to certain students unless evidence is presented that the student has been tested by certain doctors or screened for the symptoms of certain visual impairments;
HB 798 has passed the House of Delegates with Favorable Report with amendments and now pending in the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee. The companion bill SB 570, sponsored by Senator Bates is set aside to consider the House bill and amendments. The amendments create more information on early identification of visual impairments that result in early use of glasses and early detection of specialized services needed for a struggling student.
Highlights of some of the Amendments: [ Each county board or county health department shall provide hearing and vision screenings for all students in the public schools AND THE BILL NOW STRIKES SCREENING FOR CERTAIN VISIONS DISORDERS ] [Unless evidence is presented that a student has been tested BY AN OPTOMETRIST OR OPHTHALMOLOGIST within the past year, the screenings required under subsection (a) shall be given in the year that a student enters a school system, enters the first grade, and enters the eighth or ninth grade] [ADDITIONAL INFORMATION shall be provided to the parents or guardians of a student who fails the vision screening for visual impairments]
Continued Action: Support: Support. The Arc Maryland supports these amendments and will monitor the bill as it clears the House and Senate. Also, once passed The Arc Maryland will monitor closely the local school boards to ensure parents are provided educational materials that will explain the educational impact of untreated visual impairments have educational materials and help to lead impairments. Eye care is extremely important because poor eyesight can lead to academic, social, and behavioral problems for children.
Education - PARCC Testing - Children With Disabilities (Ben's Rule)
Bill HB 366 allows for a parent or guardian of a child with a disability who is nonverbal to refuse to allow their child to participate in a Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment.
HB 366 received an Unfavorable Report from Ways and Means
This bill has been introduced previously and may be reintroduced next session. The Arc Maryland will continue to advocate during the off session that exempting students with disabilities from State and district-wide assessments is a violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Students with intellectual and developmental disabilities have a right to take assessments and access accommodations that are included in their Individual Education Programs (IEPs). Such accommodations can include the use of assistive technology, specifically augmentative and alternate communication devices.
Upcoming Bills to Watch this Week
: State Department of Education - Translation Grant Program - Established
Establishing the Translation Grant Program in the State Department of Education to provide grants to public schools that are experiencing a significant number of requests to translate educational materials into a student's or parent's native language; requiring the Program to be a competitive grant program; requiring the Department to establish application procedures and supervise the use of certain funds; requiring the Governor to include at least $250,000 annually for the program beginning in fiscal year 2020.
Status: Third Reading Passed in the House (98-38), Hearing 3/28 at 1 pm in EHEA in Senate
Position: The Arc Maryland supports this bill in collaboration with Education Advocacy Coalition and has provided written testimony and will be attending this hearing. This bill creates a program to provide grants to public schools that receive a significant number of requests to translate educational materials into a student's or parent's native language, including textbooks, workbooks, handouts, electronic academic materials, any written communications to parents or students, and any on-site or over the phone interpretation services.
: State Department of Education - Guidelines on Trauma-Informed Approach
This bill establishes the Trauma-Informed Schools Initiative in the State Department of Education; requiring the State Department of Education, in consultation with the Maryland Department of Health and the Department of Human Services, to develop certain guidelines and offer certain training; requiring the State Department of Education, in consultation with the Maryland Department of Health and the Department of Human Services, to establish the Trauma-Informed Schools Expansion Program.
Status: Third Reading Passed in House (137-0), Hearing 3/28 at 1 pm in EHEA in Senate
The Arc Maryland supports this bill and provided testimony on behalf of our Coalition Partners Education Advocacy Coalition. The Arc Maryland will be attending this hearing. This bill is a proactive approach to trauma-informed care in schools. Studies show that one of every four children attending school has experienced a traumatic event that can affect learning and/or behavior. The benefits of implementing trauma- informed care in Maryland schools cannot be overstated. Many of the students who have been restrained or placed in seclusion are students who have sustained previous trauma and the use of restraint and seclusion may induce additional trauma.
: Community Colleges - Supplemental Services and Supports for Students With Disabilities Grant Program
This bill requires the Maryland Higher Education Commission to consult with the Maryland Association of Community Colleges when establishing a certain review process and adopting certain guidelines or regulations for a grant program for supplemental services and supports for students with disabilities in community colleges; and requires, beginning in fiscal year 2020, that the Governor include in the annual budget bill a General Fund appropriation of at least $250,000 to the Commission to be used to award grants under the program.
Status: Third Reading Passed in Senate (46-0), Hearing 3/29 at 1 pm in W&M in House
Position: The Arc Maryland supports this bill in collaboration with the Education Advocacy Coalition and submitted written testimony. The Arc Maryland will be attended this hearing. This bill supports a grant program that would assist community colleges in meeting legal requirements by better enabling them to provide a range of supplemental services and supports to students with disabilities for greater academic success. Students with disabilities who are included in academic courses and campus life on a college campus are more likely to be employed, earn more, and may require less support throughout their lifetime.
Guardianship of Disabled Persons-Voluntary Admission to a Mental Facility.
This bill authorizes 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 practitioner provide a certain certification. It requires 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.
Status: Passed on third reading in the House, Hearing on 3/27 at 1 p.m. in Sen FIN.
Position: The Arc Maryland supports this bill as amended with our partners at DRM. The bill will provide the opportunity for individuals with disabilities and guardianship to have access to a voluntary admission process and care.
Workers' Compensation - Students in Unpaid Work-Based Learning Experiences
This bill authorizes 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.
Status: Passed on Third reading in the House. Hearing on 3/28 at 1 p.m. in Sen FIN.
Position: The Arc Maryland supports this bill which would expand the option statewide for local boards of education to waive the "employer" worker's compensation fee requirement, ultimately expanding the availability of work experiences for transitioning youth in school.
We Need Your Help
The Arc Maryland is continuing to collect stories on the impact that various bills and actions could have on individuals with I/DD and their families. Please join our advocacy efforts by clicking on the links below to share your stories!
|Click here for The Arc Maryland Bill Tracker. (Click on the bill number in the chart to see the full bill)
This Week's Notable Hearings
- Senate: Budget and Taxation (B&T) - Miller Senate Building in Room 3 West at 1 pm
Maryland Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Program - Modifications
- Description: Authorizing money and assets in an ABLE account to be transferred, on the death of a designated beneficiary, to a certain estate or a certain ABLE account for an eligible individual, unless prohibited by federal law; and prohibiting the State, unless required by federal law, from seeking payment from an ABLE account or its proceeds for certain medical benefits paid for the designated beneficiary.
- Senate: Finance (FIN) - Miller Senate Building in Room 3 East at 1 pm
Guardianship of Disabled Persons - Voluntary Admission to Mental Facility
- Description: 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.
- Senate: Finance (FIN) - Miller Senate Building in Room 3 East at 1 pm
- HB 115, Electronic Prescription Records Cost Saving Act of 2018
- Description: 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.
- House: Health & Government Operations (HGO) - House Office Building in Room 240 at 1 pm
Electronic Prescription Records Cost Saving Act of 2018
- Description: Requiring a dispenser of a prescription drug to submit prescription information to the State-designated health information exchange; requiring prescription information to be submitted in a certain manner; prohibiting the State health information exchange from imposing any fees or assessments; requiring the State health information exchange to make prescription information available to a health care provider for purposes of treatment and care coordination of a patient.
- House: Health & Governmental Affairs (HGO) - House Office Building in Room 240 at 1 pm
Behavioral Health Services and Voluntary Placement Agreements - Children and Young Adults - Reports
- Description: 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 to prepare a certain annual report.
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