The Arc Maryland's Weekly Legislative Update
 For the Week of February 4 - 8, 2019
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Developmental Disabilities Day at the Legislature registration is now closed as we have SOLD OUT all available seats!

We expect a record number of advocates this year to DD Day.  If you were unable to register, please contact Luc Chausse  at The Arc Maryland to join the waiting list.  If seats open up, we will contact people on the list in order by date added.  Please also note we will be live-streaming the event again.  You may access the live video through the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Coalition Facebook page starting at 9:00 AM on February 13.  Even if you were unable to get a seat to the event, please still plan to come to Annapolis that morning and meet with your legislators.  There are SEVERAL bills and initiatives this year that may have significant impacts on the lives of people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.  See our bill tracker for more details.  

This year, as part of DD Day, we will have a celebration of "Community", in recognition of the 10-year anniversary of the closure of the Rosewood institution.  In 2009, the final resident of Rosewood moved out and into their new community home, and the doors of the former institution were finally closed, forever.  

NotableNotable Bills and Updates this 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!
HB166 / SB280: Labor and Employment - Payment of Wages - Minimum Wage and Enforcement (Fight for Fifteen)

The Fight for 15 bill aims to raise the state minimum wage to $15 by 2024 and contains language to provide a 7% rate increase to Community Providers supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in FY20, followed by 5.5% in FY21, 5.5% in FY22, 5.5% FY23, and what amounts to 6.6% in FY24.  The bill also includes language for a continuing increase in the state minimum wage and DD funding on years beyond FY24.  The DD Coalition is currently working on strategy and messaging around the bill; supporting the move to increase the statewide minimum wage, but addressing the timing and funding on the increases.


Position:  Support (with possible friendly amendment)  It is important that any initiative to increase the minimum wage in our state include provisions to fund community supports and services to people with I/DD.  Per the bill language the increases to the minimum wage would begin in July 1, 2019 (FY20)  with an increase to $11.00 per hour, followed by $1.00 increases every year in FY2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024 as the state minimum wage is ultimately increased to $15.  

We are grateful that our representatives recognize that any increase to the minimum wage in the state must also extend to increases to rates for Community Developmental Disabilities Services and Supports as medicaid-funded community-based state services. The bill calls for a 7% increase to DD providers in 2020 however, the governor's proposed budget currently contains a 3.5% increase to providers, representing a gap of 3.5% in funding that would be needed to ensure Direct Support jobs do not become minimum wage jobs.  

Our campaign of support and education will be assertive to ensure all of our representatives are aware of the education, training, and day-to-day requirements and responsibilities of Direct Support Professional jobs, as well as the fragile state of our current system that has been depleted of adequate funding throughout many years in Maryland.  We currently face a Direct Support Professional workforce shortage with more than 40% turnover and high staff vacancy numbers statewide.  

The concern has been raised by some in our Arc family about the impact that a higher state-wide minimum wage would have on workers with disabilities.  There are scholarly articles on the impacts of minimum wage increase that have been published over the years, showing that minimum wage increases have positive employment effects for people with disabilities in some industries and negative impacts in others.  There is no current clear and convincing evidence to show the effects that minimum wage increase would have on workers with disabilities; being as diverse a grouping of people in terms of skill and other attributes as workers without disabilities.

Whatever the outcome or this bill, The Arc Maryland will continue to work with state and department leaders in an effort to improve conditions and employment outcomes for people with I/DD through positive workforce awareness campaigns, effective training and employment preparation supports, and a solid system of supports that includes a stable Direct Support Professional workforce valued as integral supporters of many people with disabilities in employment.

HB228 / SB134: State Board of Nursing - Criminal History Records Checks - Certified Nursing Assistants and Certified Medication Technicians

This is a bill that would require certain applicants for certification as a medication technician by the State Board of Nursing to submit to a certain criminal history records check; requiring the Criminal Justice Information System Central Repository of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services to provide a revised criminal history record to the Board if the criminal history record information is reported to the Central Repository after the date of the initial criminal history records check.

Status:  Hearing in the House on Tuesday, 2/5/19 at 2 PM in HGO

Position:   Oppose and call for further study.  Community Providers of DD Services currently already conduct criminal background checks on candidates for direct support professional positions, prior to hire. The bill requires that the Central Repository provide the Board of Nursing with updates on a Med Tech or CNA's criminal history as information is updated.  

The concerns with this bill is that Community DD Providers will not have timely access to these reports as they may only go to the BON and not necessarily the provider, reports are not always complete, and there may be timing concerns for community providers that present an additional barrier to timely recruitment and onboarding.  With our coalition partners, we recommend a workgroup to study how we may work together to strengthen the system to promote greater safety for people with I/DD while ensuring that our system of community supports is not saddled with a duplicative effort mandate that would hinder timely hiring of qualified Direct Support Professionals and impose additional, unfunded requirements on our already burdened system of community supports.

HB451:  Fair Housing Opportunities Act of 2019

This bill expands the housing policy of the State to include providing for fair housing to all citizens regardless of source of income.  The Act seeks to deconcentrate poverty by providing additional opportunities for tenants utilizing public subsidies to live in certain neighborhoods and prohibits a person from refusing to sell or rent a dwelling to any person because of source of income.  Furthermore, the bill establishes qualifications and limitations on the prohibition against discrimination in housing based on source of income.

Status:  Hearing on 2/19/19 at 1 PM in House Environment and Transportation Committee (E&T)

Position:   Support.  This bill (FKA the "Home Act", introduced in previous sessions) would prohibit source-of-income discrimination.  These prohibitions have been adopted by several Maryland counties and we are interested in a statewide solution that would increase access to affordable housing for people with I/DD.

HB145 / SB301   Hospitals - Patient's Bill of Rights
The bill creates a standardized Patient Bill of Rights and requirements for timely information about testing and treatment, risks and responsibilities, and that information be provided in alternative formats.  The bill also mandates initial and periodic training for hospital personnel so they are have knowledge of rights that shall be upheld for all patients regardless of disability status.

Status: Hearing on Wednesday 2/6/19 at 2 PM in House Government and Operations Committee (HGO)

Position:  Support.  People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities have the right to have full and timely access to information about their health and to informed consent for medical procedures and treatments.  This bill would improve access to information in appropriate formats and hold hospitals accountable for providing proper training to their personnel and accountability for the assurance of patient rights.

 Special Education - Administrative Proceedings and Judicial Actions - Attorney's and Expert Witness Fees and Related Costs

The bill authorizes an administrative law judge to award certain attorney's fees and related costs to the parent of a child with a disability who is the prevailing party in a special education proceeding while prohibiting an administrative law judge from awarding attorney's fees and certain related costs to a certain parent in a certain proceeding under certain circumstances.

Status:  Hearing on Thursday, 2/7/19 at 1 PM in House Ways and Means Committee (W&M)

Position: Support.  The bill would amend the law to allow an administrative law judge to award reasonable attorney's fees and related costs to a prevailing party who is the parent of a child with a disability under certain circumstances.   We believe that the current environment favors the school system and that parents of limited means are adversely impacted as they cannot effectively advocate for the education rights of their children.  This measure would level the playing field by allowing for the awarding of attorney and expert fees to prevailing parties in education suits who are parents. 

DDA Waiver Amendment Meeting: February 11

The Developmental Disabilities Administration is hosting an overview and Q&A on the amendments being made to the Community Pathways, Family Supports and Community Supports Waivers on Monday, February 11 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. Attend to voice your concerns, questions and suggestions regarding changes to these waivers in the upcoming fiscal year. The meeting will be held at 
Owen Brown Interfaith,  Sanctuary C,  7246 Cradlerock Way,  Columbia, MD 21045.

BillTracker Bill Tracker
(Click on the bill number in the chart to see the full bill)
ScheduleHearing Schedule
February 5


B&T - 2:30 PM, Room 3 West, Miller
SB 181 : Education- Child Care Subsidies- Mandatory Funding Levels

House of Delegates:

APP - 1:00 PM, Room 121
HB 226:  Food Stamp Program- Minimum Benefit for Disabiled Individuals- State Supplement
HB 248 Education - Child Care Subsidies - Mandatory Funding Level

HGO - 2:00 PM, Room 241
HB 228 State Board of Nursing - Criminal History Records Checks - Certified Nursing Assistants and Certified Medication Technicians

February 6


EHEA   - 1: 00 PM, Room 2 West, Miller  
SB 92 : Accountability in Education Act of 2019
SB 165Maryland Department of Health - Community Dental Clinics Grant Program
SB 223: State Department of Education - Guidelines on Trauma-Informed Approach

FIN - 1:30 PM, Room 3 East, Miller
SB 158: Maryland Department of Health - Community Dental Clinics Grant Program

House of Delegates:

W&M  - 2:00 PM, Room 131
HB 47:  State Department of Education and Maryland Department of Health - Maryland School-Based Health Center Standards - Revision

HGO- 2:00 PM, Room 241
HB 145Hospitals - Patient's Bill of Rights

February 7

House of Delegates:

E&T - 1:00 PM, Room 251
HB 112: Vehicle Laws - Injury or Death of Vulnerable Individual - Penalties

W&M   - 1:00 PM, Room 131
HB 87: State Board of Education- Membership- Teachers and Parents
HB 132
: Education - Robotics Grant Program - Alterations 
HB 140:  Special Education- Administrative Proceedings and Judicial Actions- Attorneys and Expert Witness Fees and Related Costs
HB 196Prince George's County - Elementary School Students - Daily Physical Activity (Student Health and Fitness Act) PG 509-19

- 1:00 PM, Room 101
HB 181
: Criminal Law - Electronic Harassment and Bullying (Grace's Law 2.0)

February 8


House of Delegates:

EMC - 12 :30 P M, Room 231

HB 166: Labor and Employment- Payment of Wages- Minimum Wage and Enforcement (Fight for 15)


February 12
House of Delegates:
EMC - 1:00 PM, Room 231
HB 341Labor and Employment - Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program - Establishment (Time to Care Act of 2019)

HGO - 1:00 PM, Room 241
  Task Force on Oral Health in Maryland

 - 1:00 PM, Room 101
HB 306Mental Health - Involuntary Admission - Inmates in Correctional Facilities

February 13

House of Delegates:

EMC - 1 :00 P M, Room 231
HB 134: Environment - Single-Use Plastic Straws - Use in Restaurants

February 14:


JPR - 12:00 PM, Room 2 East, Miller
SB 330Public Buildings and Places of Public Accommodation - Diaper-Changing Facilities

FIN - 1:00 PM, Room 3 East, Miller
SB 195Public Health - Prescription Drug Monitoring Program - Revisions

House of Delegates:

W&M - 1 :00 P M, Room 131
HB 256: State Department of Education- Guidelines on Trauma-Informed Approach
HB 295Nonpublic Elementary and Secondary Schools - Discrimination - Prohibition
HB 356Primary and Secondary Education - Nonpublic Schools - Required Information
HB 381Baltimore County Public Schools - Student Misconduct - Penalty for Parent or Guardian
HB 439Public Schools - School Resource Officers - Prohibited Conduct

February 15

House of Delegates:

HGO - 1 :00 P M, Room 241
HB 399: End-of-Life Option Act (Richard E. Israel and Roger "Pip" Moyer Act)

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  |  |