The Arc Maryland's Weekly Legislative Update 
 For the Week of April 2-6, 2018

 Sine Die is 1 week away!
Please check out our bill tracker and
hearing schedule below.

*For a key of the Committee abbreviations, please click here or see  the end of this Newsletter*
The Budget and BRFA have cleared both chambers and
include a restoration of the 3.5% increase to
DDA Community Services funding!

Please send "thank you" emails and personalized notes to your representatives in the House and Senate for passing the budget and BRFA with critical funding for DDA services!  

Thank you to all of the self-advocates, parents, providers, DSPs, and other advocates who took part in the effort to achieve a restoration of these critical funds to the budget.  Your voices, words, and presence at rallies, meetings and hearings made the difference!   

Final Push for "Fight for 15"
This session, there have been several bills presented to increase the state minimum wage.  The Arc Maryland and its coalition partners testified in support of HB 664 / SB 543:  Labor and Employment- Payment of the Minimum Wage Required also known as "Fight for 15".

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  from  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. 

The Arc Maryland believes that Direct Support Professionals perform a critical role in our system of supports in Maryland and that one way we address the Direct Care crisis is through increasing the funded wage factor in the DDA rates.  This bill includes a mandate for increases in Developmental Disabilities funding.  

The Arc Maryland is aware of the hardships faced in counties with minimum wages higher than that of the state.  Accomplishing state-wide parity of the minimum wage would serve to reduce the funding gaps that exist in those counties, reverse the trend of growing staff turn-over and start to restore system stability.  Please click  HERE to download the "Fight for 15" briefing sheet.
At this point in the session, it appears the Fight for 15 bill is not moving.  We understand that the  "Fight for 15" coalition is planning to rally on Lawyer's Mall at 2 p.m. on April 4.  The rally is for those interested in one more push for this legislation.   The facebook event information may be accessed here:

  Here is a Recap of Last Week's Notable Hearings and Decisions


HB287 / SB 461:   Selling or Providing Alcoholic Beverages to Individuals With Intellectual Disabilities and Others - Repeal of Prohibition- PASSED Both Chambers

The bill repeals 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 814 / SB 403:  Workers' Compensation - Students in Unpaid Work-Based Learning Experiences- PASSED Both Chambers
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.

HB 152 / SB 1048:   Secure and Accessible Registration Act- PASSED Both Chambers

The bill re-designates electronic voter registration agencies as automatic voter registration agencies and requires automatic voter registration agencies to inform an applicant completing an applicable transaction that the applicant shall be registered to vote or shall have a voter registration record updated unless the applicant declines these services or is not eligible to register to vote.  Effective July 1, 2019.  Text from the bill is included here:

"AUTOMATIC voter registration agency" means:
(i) the Motor Vehicle Administration;
(ii) the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange;
(iii) local Departments of Social Services; and
(iv) the Mobility Certification Office in the Maryland Transit Administration.

Hearings Last Week:
SB 597:   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), Awaiting report from 

Position: The Arc Maryland supported this bill in collaboration with the Education Advocacy Coalition and submitted written testimony. 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.

HB 503 State Department of Education - Translation Grant Program - Established

HB 503 establishes a  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 as required by law.

Status: HB 503 passed the House of Delegates on third reader with a vote of 95-41  and is now pending in the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee. 
Continued Action:  Support. The Arc Maryland will monitor the bill as it moves through the decision process.  If passed, The Arc Maryland will monitor closely local school boards to ensure parents or students that request education materials be translated in their native language will receive the materials into the student's or parent's native language, including textbooks, workbooks, handouts, and electronic academic materials. 

HB 1601 : State Department of Education - Guidelines on Trauma-Informed Approach

Bill HB 1601 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 guidelines and offer training and establish the Trauma-Informed Schools Expansion Program.

Status:  HB 1601 has passed the House of Delegates on third reader with a vote of 137-0 and is now pending in the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee. 

Continued Action: Support.  The Arc Maryland supports this bill and will monitor the bill as it moves through the decision process. The Arc Maryland and its coalition partner (Education Advocacy Coalition) will plan to work with Delegate Wilkins during the off-session to ensure systems and processes include considerations for students with disabilities who have sustained trauma with training provided by those with experience/training in trauma-informed care.

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!
Bill Tracker
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
April 3rd
  • House: Health and Government Operations (HGO) - House Office Building in Room 240 at 1 pm
    • SB 4, Department of Aging - Study of Nursing Home Quality of Care
      • Description: Altering the membership, powers, and duties of the Oversight Committee on Quality of Care in Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities; requiring the Oversight Committee to evaluate the progress in improving nursing home care quality and assisted living facility quality statewide; requiring the Committee to review changes made to the Committee and make recommendations on legislative changes that may be necessary to the Senate Finance Committee and the House Health and Government Operations Committee by November 1, 2018.
  • House: Health and Government Operations (HGO) - House Office Building in Room 240 at 1 pm
    • SB 284, Maryland Medical Assistance Program - Dental Coverage for Adults
      • Description: Requiring the Maryland Department of Health to apply, by September 1, 2018, to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for an amendment to a certain waiver to implement a pilot program to provide limited dental coverage to certain individuals; requiring the Department to administer the program under certain circumstances; requiring the Department to report to the Governor and the General Assembly on the status of a certain application on or before December 1, 2018.
  • House: Judiciary (JUD) - House Office Building in Room 100 at 1 pm
    • SB 671, Hate Crimes - Threats and Penalties
      • Description: Prohibiting a person from threatening to commit certain hate crimes; applying and altering certain penalties; and authorizing a court to require a certain person to attend certain educational classes and perform certain community service as a condition of supervised release.
  • Senate: Judicial Proceedings (JPR) - Miller Senate Building in Room 2 East at 1 pm
    • HB 312, Criminal Law - Assault - Public Transportation Operator - Penalties
      • Description: Increasing the penalties for obstructing, hindering, or interfering with a school bus driver or a certain individual who is involved in providing public transportation services under certain circumstances.
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