The Arc Maryland's Weekly Legislative Update
 For the Week of February 18 - 22, 2019
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Developmental Disabilities Day at the Legislature

Another year, another great DD Day at The Legislature! More than 700 advocates came out for the day to speak with their legislators about important issues in the community and the live recorded video of the day has already been viewed 1040 times.  Legislators spoke to the DD day attendees about the importance of their advocacy, and fact sheets provided in DD Day packets, and explained by DD Coalition partners, highlighted the impacts of proposed legislation to include the Fight for $15 bill, The Patient Bill of Rights, Children's bills, and the Governor's proposed budget. 

Also, this year we celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the closure of Rosewood Center with a special visit from former delegate and perpetual "hero" and advocate; James Hubbard!  A video was developed for the Rosewood closure celebration by Chris Knoerlein (The Arc Baltimore).  That video can be viewed by clicking the link here:

If you could not make it to DD Day this year, you can still watch the full program from the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Coalition Facebook page .

Other Important News!

Green Bag Appointments by Governor Hogan

The Governor recently made his Green bag appointments, announcing that Ike Leggett, former Maryland Democratic Chair and Montgomery County Executive, was nominated to serve on the University System of Maryland Board of Regents.  Mr. Leggett was one of 124 other appointments that Governor Hogan passed along in the traditional green satchel to the state Senate.  To read about other appointments, click here!

DDA Waiver Amendments:  Comment period closes on March 3, 2019!

The Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) is amending the Community Pathways Waiver, Family Supports Waiver, and Community Supports Waiver programs 
According to DDA, the first amendment will include programmatic adjustments, such as:
  • Alignment of the services scope, requirements, limitations, qualifications, and effective date for the three home and community-based service waivers programs that support individuals with developmental disabilities which includes the Family Supports Waiver, Community Supports Waiver, and the Community Pathways Waiver.
  • Adjustment of some of the service implementation to provide additional time for rate setting and development of critical operational and billing functionality.

Click here to access the waiver amendment presentation
Click here to access the full waiver amendment application and click on the individual links on the page to see the changes proposed by waiver.

Public comments regarding the DDA Waiver Amendments can be submitted until March 3, 2019. 

Please submit any comments about the amendments to DDA by email to  wfb.dda@maryland.gov  or by mail to DDA Federal Programs at 201 West Preston Street, 4th Floor, Baltimore MD 21201.
NotableTop 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 311: End-of-Life Option Act (Richard E. Israel and Roger "Pip" Moyer Act)

The bill would legalize medical aid in dying (also known as physician-assisted suicide, or suicide by lethal ingestion, or death with dignity).  It would authorize an individual to request aid in dying by making specified requests in succession (oral, written, oral), specify witnesses, information that would appear on a death certificate, and protections for physicians against claims/punishment.

Status:   Hearing Tuesday, 2/19 at noon, Senate JUD

Position:  Oppose. 

Additional Notes:  As our state considers the adoption of medical aid in death policies, it is essential that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have their rights and interests protected. Unfortunately, even in this day and age, ignorance, prejudice, and discrimination against people with intellectual and developmental disabilities persists, including the documented history of denial of basic rights and medical care. Because some members of our society incorrectly perceive that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have a poor quality of life, these individuals are particularly vulnerable to suggestions their lives be ended. This places them at an extraordinary risk with regard to medical aid in death policies.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of public support to pass the bill this session (see the article from Maryland Matters) which found that 62% of polled citizens supported a proposed "aid in dying bill and 31% opposed it.
  SB 280:  Labor and Employment - Payment of Wages - Minimum Wage and Enforcement (Fight for Fifteen)

The bill specifies the Maryland State minimum wage rate that is in effect for certain time periods and increases, except under certain circumstances, the State minimum wage rate based on the annual growth in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers for the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV metropolitan area.  Furthermore, the bill specifies the tip credit amount in effect for certain time periods and prohibits an employer, beginning July 1, 2027, from including the tip credit amount as part of the wage of certain employees; etc

Status:
  Hearing Thursday, 2/21 at 1 PM in Senate FIN

Position:  Support   

Additional Notes:  The Fight for 15 bill aims to raise the state minimum wage to $15 by FY2024 and contains language to provide a 7% rate increase to Community Providers supporting individuals with developmental disabilities in FY20, followed by 5.5% in FY21, 5.5% in FY22, 5.5% FY23, and a different percentage increase in FY24.  The bill also includes language for a continuing increase in the state minimum wage and DD funding on years beyond FY24 based on the CPI.  As per the bill, the increases to the minimum wage would begin in July 2019.  Even though the bill calls for a 7% increase to DD providers in 2020, the governor's proposed budget currently contains a 3.5% increase to providers, representing a gap of 3.5%. We are talking to our representatives to determine best remedies which may include fencing funds off.  We have 2-3 panels lined up to testify on Thursday.  Please contact Ande Kolp if you would like assistance to testify for the passage of this important bill.  

 HB 561: Criminal Law- Abuse or Neglect of a Vulnerable Adult -Psychological Abuse

This bill alters the law that currently protects adults with I/DD from abuse and neglect by proposing the addition of "psychological abuse" to the definition of "abuse."   This new definition would apply to the prohibitions on causing certain types of abuse or neglect to a vulnerable adult and impose certain punishments and penalties.


Status:   Hearing on Tuesday, 2/19 at 12 PM in House JUD

Position:  Support with Amendments. 

Additional Notes: People with intellectual and developmental disabilities have the right to be free from abuse and neglect.  The intention of the sponsor was to create penalties for those who inflict psychological abuse on a person with disabilities.  Unfortunately, the language is so broad that common disagreements and reactions by people with disabilities that could be influenced by past trauma would be caught under the definitions of psychological abuse.  This would result in severe unintended consequences.  The sponsor is very open to amendments and has proposed ones that would render the bill to be much better aligned with its original intention.  

SB 774: Correctional Services - Restrictive Housing - Reporting by Correctional Units and Requirements Relating to Minors

This bill expands the entities required to submit a certain report relating to restrictive housing; prohibiting a certain correctional unit from placing a minor in certain restrictive housing unless a certain managing official makes a certain finding; requiring that a minor placed in restrictive housing be provided certain privileges and conditions; requiring a certain managing official or designee to make a record in the file of a minor of the reason a certain privilege or condition is not provided to the minor; etc.

Status:  Hearing Thursday, 2/21 at 12 PM in Senate Judicial Proceedings

Position:  Support. 

Additional Notes:  This would change the requirements for initial placement of a youth in restrictive housing.  It would also change the reporting and care and additional review and limitations on amount of time youth can spend in solitary confinement (restrictve housing) in juvenile detention.  Per an investigation by Disability Rights Maryland (DD Coalition Partner of The Arc Maryland), people with disabilities are disproportionately restrained and put in restrictive housing for even the smallest administrative infractions.  Reform is necessary.  To see a report on this issue from an investigation done by DRM, click this link.  
HB 611 Special Education- IEP- Timeline for Independent Evaluations

This bill authorizes a parent of a student with a disability to request an independent educational evaluation at public expense under certain circumstances and requires a local school system to issue a written response approving or denying a parent's request within 30 days.  Furthermore, it requires local school systems, on approving the parent's request, to advise the parent of the process for arranging the evaluation.  On on denying the parent's request, it requires local school systems to file a certain due process complaint within 30 days.

Status:  Hearing Thursday, 2/21 at 1 PM in House W & M

Position:  Support. 

Additional Notes:  This bill imposes a timeline on school systems to fulfill the requirements of federal and state law regarding independent educational evaluations for students with disabilities.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (also known as IDEA) permits parents who disagree with the evaluations completed by a school system to request an independent evaluation at public expense. If a parent makes a request for an independent evaluation, the bill would require the school system "without undue delay" to either file for a due process hearing to show that its evaluation is appropriate or ensure that an independent educational evaluation is provided at public expense.   

Parents have experienced many occasions where  the school system either does not respond in a timely manner or does not respond at all. This puts parents in a position of having to request a due process hearing to try to get the independent evaluation to which they are entitled.  An additional complication in our current system is that the party requesting the hearing bears the burden of proof, so the school system's failure to respond to the parent shifts all of the responsibility of securing independent educational evaluations to the parent. 

There is not currently a definition of "undue delay" in the law, therefore families have not been able to enforce their independent educational evaluation rights effectively. HB 611 would provide a solution to this current problem.
BillTracker Bill Tracker
(Click on the bill number in the chart to see the full bill)
ScheduleHearing Schedule
February 19

Senate:

JPR - 12:00 PM, Room 2 East, Miller
SB 311End-of-Life Option Act (Richard E. Israel and Roger "Pip" Moyer Act)
SB 475Office of the Attorney General - Senior and Vulnerable Adult Asset Recovery Unit
SB 812Fair Housing Opportunities Act of 2019 (update:  HEARING CANCELLED)

House of Delegates:

EMC - 1:00 PM, Room 231
HB 503Employers of Ex-Offenders - Liability for Negligent Hiring or Inadequate Supervision - Immunity

HGO - 1:00 PM, Room 241
HB 436: Estates and Trusts - Protection of Minors and Disabled Persons - Guardianship

W&M - 1:00 PM, Room 131
HB 565Election Law - Voting Systems - Accessibility for Voters With Disabilities

JUD - 1:00 PM, Room 101
HB 561: Criminal Law - Abuse or Neglect of a Vulnerable Adult - Psychological Abuse

February 20

Senate:

EHEA   - 1: 00 PM, Room 2 West, Miller
SB 182: Community Colleges - Supplemental Services and Supports for Students With Disabilities Grant Program
 
FIN - 1:00 PM, Room 3 East, Miller
SB 302Mental Health - Electroconvulsive Therapy for Minors - Prohibition
SB 402Mental Health - Involuntary Admission - Inmates in Correctional Facilities
SB 404State Department of Education and Maryland Department of Health - Maryland School-Based Health Center Standards - Revision

House of Delegates:

EMC  - 1:00 PM, Room 231
HB 485: Office of the Attorney General - Senior and Vulnerable Adult Asset Recovery Unit

February 21

Senate:

JPR - 12:00 PM, Room 2 East, Miller
SB 774Correctional Services - Restrictive Housing - Reporting by Correctional Units and Requirements Relating to Minors

FIN - 1:00 PM, Room 3 East, Miller
SB 280: Labor and Employment - Payment of Wages - Minimum Wage and Enforcement (Fight for Fifteen)
SB 681: Labor and Employment - Maryland Healthy Working Families Act - Seasonal Temporary Workers

House of Delegates:

APP - 1:00 PM, Room 121
HB 491: State Contractual Employees - Paid Leave
HB 714: Community Colleges - Supplemental Services and Supports for Students With Disabilities Grant Program

W&M - 1:00 PM, Room 131
HB 611Special Education- IEP- Timeline for Independent Evaluations
HB 690Education - Students With Reading Difficulties - Screenings and Interventions
HB 704Maryland Longitudinal Data System - Student Data and Governing Board
HB 708Education - Identification of Students With Traumatic Brain Injury - Study and Report

February 25

House of Delegates:

JUD - 10 :00 A M, Room 101
HB 1247No Fear in Education Act - Student Protection in School (Meadow Pollack's Law)

Health and Social Services Subcommittee - 3:00 PM, Room 130
Developmental Disabilities Administration Budget Hearing

February 26
 
Senate:
 
EHEA - 1:00 PM, Room 2 West, Miller
SB 734Education - Students With Reading Difficulties - Screenings and Interventions

House of Delegates:

W&M - 1:00 PM, Room 131
HB 992Election Law - Qualification of Voters - Proof of Identity
February 27
 
Senate:
 
FIN - 1:00 PM, Room 3 East, Miller
SB 431Task Force on Oral Health in Maryland
SB 642Task Force to Study Transportation Access

February 28 :

Senate:

FIN - 1:00 PM, Room 3 East, Miller
SB 301Hospitals - Patient's Bill of Rights

EHEA - 1:00 PM, Room 2 West, Miller
SB 363Election Law - Voting Systems - Accessibility for Voters With Disabilities

House of Delegates:

E&T - 1:00 PM, Room 251
HB 923Task Force to Study Transportation Access

JUD - 1:00 PM, Room 101
HB 1076Criminal Procedure - Out of Court Statements of Victims - Child Neglect and Abuse or Neglect of a Vulnerable Adult
HB 1283Child in Need of Assistance - Guardianship by Local Department - ABLE Accounts

W&M - 1 :00 P M, Room 131
HB 725: Public Schools- Student Discipline- Restorative Practices
HB 950State Dept of Education- School Discipline- Data Collection
HB 1208Board of Restorative Practices in Schools- Establishment
HB 1229Restorative Schools Fund and Grants- Establishment

March 1

Senate:

FIN - 1:00 PM, Room 3 East, Miller
SB 425Home Energy Assistance - Critical Medical Needs Program

House of Delegates:

JUD - 1 :00 P M, Room 101
HB 1275: Office of Administrative Hearings- Administrative Law Judges- Special Education Law Training

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
Senate 
  • 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  | info@thearcmd.org  | www.thearcmd.org