In This Issue:
Conv2019 State Convention
Opportunity (noun):  a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.

Our call to action and the guiding light of our work this year has been driven by the word "OpportUNITY."  This theme, which first made its appearance in the Annual Legislative Calendar, proved fitting for what we experienced throughout the fiscal year.  As we begin to wrap up FY19, with the legislative session in the rear view mirror and so much ahead in the path of our future, we hope you will take this opportunity to join fellow advocates on May 17th for The Arc Maryland 2019 State Convention!
The convention will feature 4 "OpportUNITY Tracks" for advanced learning and networking, an incredible awards banquet, and the state premiere of a video that was recently created in cooperation with fellow chapter members to highlight the importance of Direct Support Professionals in the lives of people with disabilities and their families.  

Workshop tracks include the P rofessional Supports track, the  Advocacy track, the Innovations in Housing track, and Building Natural Support track!  Follow a track the entire day, or choose sessions "a la carte" to suit your interests.

With less than 3 weeks until convention, we hope you will take the opportunity to register now!

See you on Friday, May 17, 2019 at the Turf Valley Resort and Spa, Ellicott City, MD!

WrapUp2019 Legislative Wrap Up
Another Legislative Session in the state of Maryland has come and gone! The 439th Session for The Maryland General Assembly was a busy one for The Arc Maryland team. From January 9 to April 8 of 2019, 2,481 bills were introduced between the House of Delegates and Senate.

The Arc Maryland Public Policy Team tracked 202 bills affecting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, including issues surrounding education, health care, civil rights and more. Our 
2019 Public Policy Platform brochure details the driving force behind our efforts, developed by the Governmental Affairs Committee, and utilized by our Public Policy Team.

Governor Larry Hogan signing on the Patient's Bill of Rights (HB 145 & SB 301)

Below are highlights of the 2019 Maryland Legislative Session. The Full Wrap up Report is also available by clicking the button below.

Developmental Disabilities Day at the Legislature
Hundreds of advocates again came out for DD Day at the Legislature on February 13.  Legislative  leaders addressed the crowd with supportive messages about the importance of their advocacy. Coalition partners reviewed the Governor's proposed budget for education and the Developmental Disabilities Administration, and some of the bills of interest to our community.  After the briefings advocates met with their elected officials to provide information and advocacy in the House and Senate buildings.

Highlighted bills included the "Fight for $15" bill, the Patient's Bill of Rights, several education and c hildren's health bills, and a bill to legalize medical aid in dying.  This year the DD Coalition also organized a special celebration to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the closure of the Rosewood Center.   

In 2009, the last resident of the former institution moved into their new home in the community, and Rosewood finally closed its doors... for good.
Grassroots Advocacy   
Action Alerts, Advocacy Nights and other efforts were on full display throughout session as we rallied with our advocacy partners to ed ucate legislators on the needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, the Direct Support Professional workforce s hortage, and potential impacts of a legislative action to raise the state minimum wage to $15 per hour.

We believe the incredible action of self-advocates, families, provider staff, and 
others who came to testify, called, wrote emails and letters, and mobilized improved the outcome of funding for Developmental Disability Services in the "Fight for $15" Bill and undoubtedly made our presence felt among the 188 members of the Maryland General Assembly, including 60 new lawmakers.
World Down Syndrome Day   

The Arc Maryland, in partnership with Maryland Catholic Conference and Maryland Department of Disabilities, celebrated the lives of people with Down Syndrome and their families during World Down Syndrome Day with a celebration at the State House on March 21, followed by a community lunch in the House of Delegates.

The Maryland General Assembly and the Hogan Administration recognized more than 70 children and adults with Down syndrome, their families, and the community organizations that support them. 

The Senate, the House of Delegates, and the Governor's Office each issued resolutions and a proclamation to declare March 21, 2019 as Down Syndrome Day in Maryland.
ArcMDChecking In with The Arc Maryland
MCE Leadership: Best Practices with Chapter Leadership

The Maryland Conference of Executives of The Arc (MCE)  Leadership: The Arc program is a year-long executive development program for current and future leaders of The Arc organizations.  Current class members and Executive Directors/CEOs of The Arc across the state met on Wednesday, April 24 at The Arc Washington County to share their organizational best practices and ideas to strengthen The Arc community. 

Through MCE Leadership classes, chapters have an opportunity to connect, share ideas and enhance skills at the local chapter level for a stronger statewide presence of The Arc. Below are some pictures of MCE leaders in action!

Together We're Better Inclusive Education Campaign: "Traveling" Artwork Now On  Display In Local Libraries 

The Together We're Better (TWB) Inclusive Education Art Contest, facilitated by The Arc Maryland in partnership with the Maryland State Department of Education, the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council, and the Maryland Department of Disabilities, yielded over 200 individual pieces of artwork from elementary and middle school students across the state of Maryland! 

This artwork is now in a traveling art display throughout our state library system.  The students' artwork exemplifies the importance of having friends of all abilities, how students learn from each other's differences and what students learned about themselves and others through the TWB campaign.

Artwork submissions are currently on display at Bowie Branch Library in Prince George's County and at Mount Airy Branch Library in Carroll County. You can check them out from now to May 6 before they move to their next stop in Maryland. Stay tuned through our Social Media presence to see if they land near you next!

NewsIn the News
Effort Underway to Expand Access to Respite Care

This article outlines the Lifespan Respite Care Re authorization Act of 2019 to increase the funding of respite care to $60 million by fiscal year 2020. 
New Autism Prevalence Stats Spotlight the Challenge of Early Diagnosis

According to data released in April by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the prevalence of autism in 4-year-old children in the United States has increased - from about 1 in 75 children in 2010 to 1 in 59 in 2014 - to match a previously reported rise in 8-year-old children... 

Update on the "Empower Care Act" extension of temporary funding for the program that helps people leave Institutions

Money Follows the Person  (also known as the Empower Care Act) officially expired in 2016 and by the end of last year, every state was running out of whatever funds remained.  Advocates like The Arc have been pushing for a renewal of the program that has failed to materialize to date.  Wi th no long-term solution, Congress approved a recent round of funding in order to tide over the program through the end of the government's fiscal year in September.

EventsUpcoming Events
The Arc Prince George's County
Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council
Transition 101
May 21
Montgomery County Department of Police
Autism & I/DD Night Out
May 30
The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region's  Camp Sp'Arc
MeetingsLocal Chapter Annual Meetings
This time of year, Maryland Chapters of The Arc commonly hold their annual meetings, many alongside an Annual Celebration of Excellence. Some of the Annual Meetings of our chapter partners were held during the month of April. 

See below for details on May meetings and please contact your local chapters if you would like more information!
The Arc Baltimore
May 1

The Arc Baltimore is holding its Annual Meeting and Awards Reception tonight, May 1 at 7:30 pm at the Red Lion Hotel North. You can RSVP for the Meeting and Reception by contacting Katie Paff. If you would like to join The Arc Baltimore for hor d'oeuvres and an open bar starting at 6:30 pm, you can purchase tickets here.

The Arc Carroll County
May 7

Join The Arc Carroll County for their Annual Dinner and Community Awards on Tuesday, May 7 from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm at Martin's Westminster. Read more and purchase your tickets from their website.
The Arc  Prince George's County
May 9
The Arc Maryland
May 17

Join us on Friday, May 17 for The Arc Maryland's Annual Convention, Awards, and Annual Meeting at Turf Valley Resort! This year's theme, is OpportUNITY! This is your opportunity to buy tickets for our big day which includes our annual awards luncheon, and breakout sessions featuring presentations on today's hot topic issues faced by people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, their families, and professional supports. The Arc Maryland Annual Meeting will be held from 3:15 pm to 4:15 pm, following our final breakout session of the day. 

Read more and purchase your tickets to the Annual Convention here. A limited number of tickets are still available, so act fast!

The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region
June 5

On Wednesday, June 5 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm join The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region at Mountain Christian Church for their Annual Meeting! RSVP with Cheryl Refenacht by email or phone at 443-412-5487, or if you have any questions. 

The Arc Montgomery County
June 26

The Arc Montgomery County is holding its Membership Meeting with Board Elections and Community Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, June 26 from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Stay tuned for more details, or contact Deborah Mark by email or phone at 301-984-5777 extension 1245.