After over 500 parents and activists across the state of Maryland signed a Petition in opposition to HB 596, here is what Delegate Kaiser wrote in a Feb. 27th letter:
"I am amending my own legislation to retain the 5 business day standard, but to disallow IEP meetings in the first 3 days following a long holiday break."But that didn't happen.
The proposed changes to HB 596 were not made public prior to the March 8th public hearing.
And so, on March 8, 2012 a public hearing was held on HB 596 as written.
At the March 8th public hearing the Maryland State Education Association (MSEA - the state teacher's union) gave public comment in support of HB 596 as originally proposed. See PDF below.
Further, MSEA reported to their members in their March 9th newsletter:
Five-Day Rule Update The House Ways and Means committee heard House Bill 596, legislation to address the five-day rule that governs the timeline considerations of delivering materials to parents in advance of IEP meetings. MSEA testified in support of the legislation and to amendments offered by the bill sponsor, Delegate Anne Kaiser. The Kaiser amendments intend to provide flexibility in how parents will receive the documents in advance of the meeting, ensure that the word “accessible” is defined, and define what the “extenuating circumstances” provision of the current law is meant to allow.Parents? Of course, they didn't show up at the March 8th public hearing because they had been told that HB 596 was not going forward as originally written. Parents were told that the 5 business day rule on document production was not being altered.
MSEA will continue to work with Delegate Kaiser to bring common sense to the law and ensure balance is achieved between parents’ needs and educators’ workloads. Stay tuned and help us push for these important changes by emailing your legislators and asking them to fix the five-day rule.
Cool move to keep parents from showing up at a public hearing, while allowing the union representatives to proceed with their advocacy unopposed. The legislative session history will show that this legislation had support at the public hearing, but not that it had substantial opposition.
HB 596 Public Comment