The Arc Maryland's Weekly Legislative Update
 For the Week of March 4 - 8, 2019
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Join Us in Annapolis on March 21 for
World Down Syndrome Day!

The Arc Maryland, in partnership with The Maryland Catholic Conference and Maryland Department of Disabilities invites you to join us at the historic statehouse for this year's statewide celebration of World Down Syndrome Day!

World Down Syndrome Day is recognized every year worldwide on March 21 to celebrate the lives of people with Down syndrome and their families. This year's theme is "Leave No One Behind," and will feature First Lady Yumi Hogan!

The Maryland General Assembly and the Hogan Administration will recognize individuals with Down Syndrome, their families, and the community organizations that support them. The Senate, the House of Delegates, and the Governor's Office will be issuing resolutions and a proclamation to once again celebrate the Down Syndrome community and declare 3.21 Down Syndrome Day in Maryland. All are welcome!

Please contact Gregory Snyder of Maryland Catholic Conference via email  by Friday, March 8 if you will be participating in the day as there will be an opportunity for advocate participation in the Senate, House, and Governor's office.*

We will meet  in  the State House lobby  at 9:30 am to distribute yellow and blue lapel ribbons so that everyone in Annapolis can proudly wear and display the official colors of Down Syndrome awareness. Please plan ahead.  
After the presentation, there will be lunch available in  the Maryland House Building, Room 318 , starting at 11:30 am.

This is a great opportunity to involve representative members of the Maryland Down Syndrome community in a very special way. We hope that you will join us!

Can't make it during the day to celebrate? Swing by  the Governor's Mansion, 110 State Circle, that night as it lights up Blue and Gold for World Down Syndrome Day!

* Adults must bring a valid state-issued ID to enter the State House and Legislative Buildings.
Developmental Disabilities Action Night, Monday 3/4

Monday night, over 400 parents and other advocates from around Maryland ascended on Annapolis to attend briefings and meet with their legislators. They also wrote and delivered postcards to Senators to let them know of the importance of Direct Support Professionals in their lives. 

We are in the "fight for our lives" now as the Senate considers the Fight for $15 bill which will likely be voted on this morning in Senate Finance.  

The bill as amended (House version) currently includes grossly insufficient funding provisions for Developmental Disabilities Services in Maryland. If the bill passes both chambers with the DD rate increases proposed (reduced to 3% per year), many providers will not survive, impacting access to critical supports for more than 24,000 Maryland citizens with disabilities and their families.

We ask our representatives in the general assembly and leadership to do the right thing. We are asking them to save our services by restoring DD funding increases to the Fight for $15 bill.

This info graph provides information on the current situation, and what we need.

NotableBudget Hearing Notice/ Top 5 Bills of the Week
*For a key to the committee abbreviations, please click here or see  the end of this Newsletter* for full committee names and the hearing schedules.

Click on the bill numbers below to link to each bill!
SB 125
Budget Bill (FY2020)
-Developmental Disabilities Administration Proposed Budget- 

Making the proposed appropriations contained in the State Budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, in accordance with Article III, Section 52 of the Maryland Constitution; etc.

  Hearing 3/7 (Thursday) at 1 PM in the Senate Health and Human Services Subcommittee (Amos Room, 4th Floor)

Position:  Support  

Additional Notes: The proposed FY2020 Budget includes an increase of  $1,299,451,407 for the Developmental Disabilities Administration budget with the following breakdown to fund anualization of existing services or new services:

$12,320,521 for Transitioning Youth (young adults exiting high school) - Projected to support 590 people.

$816,833 for Emergency Placements - Projected to support 31 people in Residential, Day, Personal Services, and Individual Support Services (average placement of 6 months).

$5,103,521 for Waiting List (Crisis Resolution) - Projected to support 173 people in crisis to receive Residential, Day, Supported Employment, Self-Directed, Personal, and Individual Support Services (6 to 8 months average placement).

$1,494,170 for Waiting List Equity Fund - Projected to support 38 people (with the oldest caregivers on the list).

$1,184,723 for DSS age-outs - Projected to support 40 people aging out of DSS.

$5,138,169 for Low Intensity Support Services (LISS)

$10,000,000 for the Community Supports Waiver - to provide continued funding for non-residential services in the community for the original 400 slots at a cap of $25,000 per year per individual.

$4,800,000 for the Family Supports Waiver - to provide funding for children under 21 and their families to secure supplemental, wraparound services to those provided by the Maryland State Department of Education. This will fund the original 400 slots at a cap of $12,000 per year per individual.
$250,000 for Post-Secondary Education Program to develop post-secondary education programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

$42,531,483 for a DD Community Services rate increase of 3.5%

SB 500 : Labor and Employment- Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program- Establishment (Time to Care Act of 2019)

Establishes the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program through which employees may take up to 12 weeks of paid leave from their jobs to care for new children, other family members with serious health conditions or disabilities, or themselves.

Status:  Hearing Thursday, 3/7 at 1 PM in Senate FIN

Position:  Support with Amendments. 

Additional Notes:  Employees who are the primary caregivers of children and adults with significant disabilities, chronic health conditions, or elderly family members much navigate and advocate within a complex system of health care, disability and other government benefits, and education services on behalf of their loved ones.  The time involved in caring for a loved one with complex needs makes it exceedingly difficult to hold down a job, and succeed in the workforce.  This leave insurance program would allow parents to take intermittent leave, on a paid basis, while ensuring their jobs were not threatened by the taking of that necessary leave.

While the idea of this benefit it one that The Arc supports, there are some concerns with the way in which the bill is currently written and implications for DD Community Providers who provide community based supports individuals with I/DD in Maryland, and whose funding rates are set by the state.  

It is not clear whether or not there is an employer portion to the mandate (8.3-503(A)(4)) but it is assumed based on the conversation in the House about the bill. Without an increase in state funding to support the employer contributions to this insurance initiative, the program would amount to another unfunded mandate to providers, placing additional strain on our systems.

Additional concerns relate to definitions of terms such as 
"covered employee" -employees who have been paid $5200 in wages within a 12 month period would be eligible (this is different from the House version of the bill which require an employee to have worked 40 hours a week for 17 weeks out of the year to be eligible; timing which may not line up with other benefits enrollment periods, making it difficult for DD Community providers to track and manage without additional unfunded administrative support.
Definitions:  "employer"- means a person who employs at least one individual. This would have implications for people who Self-Direct their services who currently do not feel they receive enough in their budgets to offer benefits such as this to their employees.
"family member"- the definition would extend consideration as family to individuals related by "affinity" whose close association with the employee is equivalent to a family relationship.  This seems to be too broad to manage.
"qualifying exigency"- extends allowable uses of leave to family members or service members to attend military events "and related activities".  This seems to broad to manage.

We are interested in working with the Bill Sponsors and our other partners to work through these concerns.
HB 1186: Non-public Schools Fire Drill Requirements- State Fire Prevention Code

Requiring each nonpublic school in the State to hold fire drills in accordance with the State Fire Prevention Code, keep records of the fire drills, and send copies of the records to the State Board of Education.

Status: Hearing on Thursday, 3/7 at 1 PM in Ways and Means

Position:  Support

Additional Notes:  This bill would close the loophole to ensure that nonpublic schools, like public schools, complete and document fire and emergency evacuation drills to ensure and account for the needs of students with disabilities.
HB1189: Home Energy Assistance Program- Critical Medical Needs Program

Establishing the Critical Medical Needs Program in the Office of Home Energy Programs of the Family Investment Administration within the Department of Human Services in recognition of the additional challenges with energy bills for individuals with critical medical needs and limited financial resources; requiring the Office to partner with certain agencies and organizations in administering the Program; specifying the duties of the Office in administering the Program; requiring the Department to adopt certain regulations; etc.

Status: Hearing on Thursday, 3/7 at 1 PM in House EMC

Position:  Support

Additional Notes:   This would provide energy subsidies for people with medical conditions with need for electronic equipment (ventilator for example) that consume higher than average levels of energy.
HB 1242:  Public School Students - Vision Services and the Vision for Maryland Program
Requiring each county board of education to coordinate with the Vision for Maryland Program to ensure that certain students are able to receive eye examinations and, if necessary, eyeglasses; requiring each county board or county health department to provide eye examinations for certain students; establishing the Vision for Maryland Program; requiring the Maryland Department of Health to carry out the Program in consultation with certain entities; etc.

Status:   Hearing Thursday, 3/7 at 1 PM in Ways and Means

Position:  Support with Amendments

Additional Notes: 
"Statistics show that vision-related learning problems affect 1 in 4 school-age children.  Consequently, many children are not receiving the correct diagnosis and the help they need in order to succeed in school.
Many symptoms of vision-related learning problems can mimic other conditions. There are, consequently, countless numbers of children who are classified as special education students or are medicated, or both, who may be wrongly diagnosed.  Few people are aware that a breakdown in the visual system can also be at the core of a learning disability.  Because of this, the potential for misdiagnosis is enormous.
At the present time, visual skills are not routinely and comprehensively examined to determine if a deficit is present and interfering with a child's capacity for learning.  As a result, we are missing critical information about a child's readiness for school."
BillTracker Bill Tracker
(Click on the bill number in the chart to see the full bill)
ScheduleHearing Schedule
March 4

House of Delegates:

HGO - 1:00 PM, Room 241
HB 856Health Care Facilities - Hospitals and Related Institutions - Discrimination Protections

March 5

House of Delegates:

EMC   - 1: 00 PM, Room 231
HB 976Labor and Employment- Minimum Wage- Establishment by Counties
HB 994Labor and Employment - Criminal Record Screening Practices (Ban the Box)
HGO - 1:00 PM, Room 241
HB 1244Public Buildings and Places of Public Accommodation - Diaper-Changing Facilities
HB 1262Human Relations - Employment Discrimination and Discriminatory Housing Practices - Revisions

JUD - 1:00 PM, Room 101
HB 743Criminal Procedure - Incompetency and Criminal Responsibility - Dismissal of Charges

March 6


JPR - 12:00 PM, Room 2 East, Miller
SB 732Child in Need of Assistance - Guardianship by Local Department - ABLE Accounts

B&T - 1:00 PM, Room 3 West, Miller
SB 492Investment in Job Skills Act of 2019

EHEA - 1:00 PM, Room 2 West, Miller
SB 576Student Victim of Violent Crime - Option to Transfer or Require Offender to Transfer Schools
SB 766Public Schools- Student Discipline- Restorative Practices

FIN - 1:00 PM, Room 3 East, Miller
SB 759 Health - Prescription Drug Affordability Board

House of Delegates:

HGO - 1:00 PM, Room 241
HB 768Health - Prescription Drug Affordability Board

E&T - 1:00 PM, Room 251
HB 1233Environment - Reduction of Lead Risk in Housing - Elevated Blood Lead Levels and Environmental Investigations (Maryland Healthy Children Act)

March 7


FIN - 1:00 PM, Room 3 East, Miller
SB 500Labor and Employment - Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program - Establishment (Time to Care Act of 2019)

Health and Human Services Subcommittee - 1:00 PM, William Amos Room, 4th Floor
Developmental Disabilities Administration Budget Hearing

House of Delegates:

EMC - 1:00 PM, Room 231
HB 1189Home Energy Assistance - Critical Medical Needs Program

JUD - 1:00 PM, Room 101
HB 864Duties of a Guardian of the Person - Petition for Visitation

W&M - 1:00 PM, Room 131
HB 45Accountability in Education Act of 2019
HB 148Safe Schools Maryland Act of 2019
HB 356Primary and Secondary Education - Nonpublic Schools - Required Information
HB 1186Nonpublic Schools - Fire Drill Requirements - State Fire Prevention Code
HB 1242Public School Students - Vision Services and the Vision for Maryland Program

March 11


Health and Human Services Subcommittee - 1:00 PM, Floor 4, William Amos Room
Developmental Disabilities Administration Budget Decision

House of Delegates:

HGO - 1 :00 P M, Room 241
HB 832Maryland Medical Assistance Program - Home- and Community-Based Waiver Services - Prohibition on Denials
HB 1009Home- and Community-Based Services Waivers - Alterations (Laurie's Law)
HB 1197Task Force on Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorder

March 12

House of Delegates:

JUD - 1 :00 P M, Room 101
HB 1001: Correctional Services - Restrictive Housing - Reporting by Correctional Units and Requirements Relating to Minors
HB 1029Correctional Services - Restrictive Housing- Limitations

March 13
FIN - 1:00 PM, Room 2 East, Miller
SB 699:  
Public Safety- 9-1-1 Emergency Telephone System (Carl Henn's Law)

SB 700Home- and Community-Based Services Waivers - Alterations (Laurie's Law)

EHEA- 1:00 PM, Room 2 West, Miller
SB 915Public School Students - Vision Services and the Vision for Maryland Program

March 14


FIN - 1:00 PM, Room 3 East, Miller
SB 550Food Stamp Program- Minimum Benefit for Disabiled Individuals- State Supplement

JPR - 12:00 PM, Room 2 East, Miller
SB 948Criminal Law - Assault in the Second Degree - School Employee

March 15
FIN - 1:00 PM, Room 3 East, Miller
SB 839Labor and Employment - Criminal Record Screening Practices (Ban the Box)

Please note: the following abbreviations identify the legislative committees in the Maryland General Assembly.Abrv

House of Delegates
  • Appropriations Committee - APP
  • 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.
The Arc Maryland | (410) 571-9320  |  |