The Arc Maryland's Weekly Legislative Update
Week of Session: March 15 - 19, 2021
Every Monday in the Insider, check out updates on key legislation affecting the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families, and professional supports, learn about upcoming advocacy events, and receive notices about Federal, State, and other initiatives of importance to The Arc Maryland!
Bill Tracker
You can stay up to date on all legislation The Arc Maryland is keeping tabs on through our Bill Tracker! Use the Bill Tracker to view position statements, access bill text, and check hearing times and dates.
In the News
Join Us for World Down Syndrome Day: Maryland's Online Celebration and Dance Party
This Friday, 3/19 from 3:30 t0 4:30 pm
World Down Syndrome Day is recognized every year worldwide on March 21st to celebrate the lives of people with Down syndrome and their families. As March 21st falls on a Sunday this year, we will celebrate WDSD virtually on Friday, March 19th!

From 3:30 to 4:30 PM, join us online to hear remarks from advocates with Down syndrome, the Maryland Department of Disabilities, First Lady Yumi Hogan, and leaders from Maryland’s State Senate and House of Delegates. Our time together will culminate with a short but lively dance party, led by a DJ! Register for free below.

This just in: The Maryland Stadium Authority is going to light up M&T and the Warehouse in honor of WDSD on March 21st! Thank you to our Maryland Sports Teams for your support of people with Down syndrome!
Health Department Website Information Corrected and Reasonable Accommodations for Improved Vaccine Access Are Made/In Progress
In response to action taken by The Arc Maryland and your continued grassroots advocacy, six Maryland jurisdictions have corrected or are in process of correcting information on their county websites that omitted people with intellectual and developmental disabilities from their list of populations eligible for vaccination in Phase 1B. Some counties have posted a liaison for people with disabilities to contact for assistance navigating computerized information and forms. Additionally, county health department staff have received instruction on the eligibility of people with IDD, with some being added to vaccine interest lists.

While there is still much to be done to create equitable access across the state to the vaccine, the actions taken so far signify a commitment to better understanding and effectively addressing the diverse needs of all Marylanders.
The American Rescue Plan Passes in Congress: Emergency COVID Relief with Dedicated Federal Funding for HCBS
Last Wednesday, Congress passed (and President Biden promptly signed) the American Rescue Plan. The funding plan includes several of The Arc’s priority asks, including a dedicated 10 percent FMAP bump -dedicated to Medicaid Home and Community Based Services- and stimulus payments for adult dependents. The Arc’s policy team compiled bill highlights through the button below.
The Maryland Developmental Disabilities Coalition is advocating for the best uses of the funding for Developmental Disabilities systems of support in the state. The COVID-19 pandemic has been very hard on everyone and it is encouraging to think that recovery support could be on the way with the signing of the Rescue Plan.

We hear that the FY22 operating budget will be finalized very soon: the House APP Committee is expected to meet at 5 PM today for final budget decisions, with the Senate expected to meet in the next several days.
Top Bills of the Week
SB0728: Labor and Employment – Worker Safety and Health – Injury and Illness Prevention Program

Status: In Senate, Hearing 3/17 in FIN at 1:00 PM.

Testimony is due today, 3/15 before 3 PM on the MGA website. Contact if you need assistance to submit testimony or sign up. Click the button below for talking points.

Position: Letter of Information/ Evaluating for Opposition

Protecting the health and safety of the DSP workforce is of serious concern to The Arc Maryland. COMAR requires IDD providers to implement “State and federally required safety precautions, infection control, and standard precautions….” and prescribe the conditions/repair/quality that regulated living environments require. While the bill sponsors' concerns are appreciated, we believe it is overreaching and will not result in the outcomes intended. Instead, it would infringe on the privacy rights of people with IDD who reside in group homes. Furthermore, it would create dual and likely conflicting processes for identifying and mitigating environmental safety concerns and create unfunded mandates on Medicaid providers with no commensurate increase in state funding.
SB0727: Maryland Healthy Working Families Act – Revisions and Public Health Emergency Leave

Status: In Senate, Hearing 3/17 in FIN at 1:00 PM.

Testimony is due today, 3/15 before 3 PM on the MGA website. Contact if you need assistance to submit testimony or sign up.

Position: Letter of Information/Evaluating for Opposition

This bill would create requirements for additional paid leave, not only for full and part-time employees, but on-call/as-needed employees as well, creating a situation whereby relief (for ill employees) may not be possible for organizations to provide if/when on-call/as-needed staff (hired to cover for sick or vacationing staff) exercise an unintended loophole in the proposed law to take the new leave offered through this bill instead of providing the essential coverage. The bill also requires significant levels of additional leave for all employees during an emergency without including any funding mandate for DD providers. DD Providers are Medicaid providers and cannot pass along any additional operating expenses to the people who receive services. Without additional state funding to cover this new benefit cost, the bill would create another unfunded mandate.
Bill Updates
HB0321/SB0061: Public Buildings – Changing Facilities – Requirements

HB0321 - Passed in House (130-60); Crossed over and is now in Senate First Reading JPR

SB0061 - In Senate Second Reading Passed. Scheduled for Third Reading shortly.

Position: Support

This bill creates a requirement for newly constructed or extensively remodeled public buildings to provide changing stations suitable to hold the weight of an adult.
SB0371: Special Education - Individualized Education Programs - Educational Evaluations

Status: In Senate Second Reading Passed with Amendments. Scheduled for Third Reading shortly.

Position: Support

This bill would create a mechanism for parents to obtain an evaluation paid for by the school in cases where the school has not provided the evaluation within prescribed timeframes. This has been critical for families during the pandemic as they have not been able to have their children evaluated or re-evaluated for education access supports.
Hearing Schedule (3/15 to 3/26)
Wednesday, March 17th

FIN, 1:00 PM
SB0727: Maryland Healthy Working Families Act – Revisions and Public Health Emergency Leave

SB0728: Labor and Employment – Worker Safety and Health – Injury and Illness Prevention Program
Thursday, March 18th

JPR, 12:30 PM
HB0347: Criminal Law - Exploitation of Vulnerable Adult or Elderly Individual - Undue Influence

EHEA, 1:00 PM
HB0171: State Department of Education - School Discipline - Data Collection
Wednesday, March 24th

W&M, 1:30 PM
HB1355: Primary and Secondary Education – Repeating Previous Grade Level – Authorization (Education Recovery Act of 2021)
Please note: the following abbreviations identify the legislative committees in the Assembly:

House of Delegates:
  • APP - Appropriations Committee
  • EMC - Economic Matters Committee
  • E&T - Environment and Transportation Committee
  • HGO - Health and Government Operations Committee
  • JUD - Judiciary Committee
  • W&M - Ways and Means Committee
  • HRU - Rules and Executive Nominations Committee

  • B&T - Budget and Taxation Committee
  • EHEA - Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee
  • FIN - Finance Committee
  • JPR - Judicial Proceedings Committee
  • EXN - Executive Nominations Committee
  • SRU - Rules Committee