Friday, May 6, 2016

Maryland Disability Law Center 2016 Legislative Report

The 2016 General Assembly session was extraordinarily busy and productive with over 2,850 bills introduced. MDLC provided information regarding the potential impact of bills and budget proposals on Marylanders with disabilities. Our full 2016 Legislative Report is available on our website. Several of the bills MDLC worked on are described below. We thank our supporters, other allies and advocates, General Assembly members, and many others who helped achieve important progress in for people with disabilities in the 2016 Session.
HB 86/SB 421: IEP Translations - MDLC spearheaded this successful effort to require that an IEP or IFSP be translated into a parent's native language, upon request, if the language is spoken by more than 1% of the local student population. The translated document must be provided within 30 days.
SB 950/HB 778: Parental Consent for IEPs - MDLC and the Education Advocacy Coalition led this effort to require parental consent before a school system may take certain actions (placing restraint or seclusion on an IEP, moving a child to alternate assessment/off diploma track, reducing or terminating instructional or related services, or changing school placement). Senate bill amendments turned the substance of the bill into tasks for a workgroup and also merged the bill with parts of a special education "scholarship" (voucher) bill. 
HB 431/SB 355: ABLE Act - Federal law enacted in December 2014 authorized states to establish tax-advantaged savings program to help people with disabilities save limited amounts for disability-related expenses (such as health care, assistive technology, education, employment supports and housing) without losing eligibility for certain public benefits. Maryland legislation enacted in 2015 established the ABLE Task Force to make recommendations for an ABLE Program, resulting in this year's bill. College Savings Plans of Maryland and the Maryland Department of Disabilities and will co-manage the program. Governor Hogan committed $745,000 for program start-up costs and signed the legislation into law on April 12, 2016.
HB682/SB551: Crisis Walk-in Services & Mobile Crisis Teams - This legislation requires the Maryland Behavioral Health Advisory Council (on which MDLC serves) to develop a strategic plan for ensuring that clinical crisis walk-in services and mobile crisis teams are available 24/7 statewide. The plan design must address the need for both mental health and substance use disorder services; include measures to monitor outcomes and to recover payment for services provided to individuals with commercial insurance; and regional models must also be considered.
SB 1005/HB 1312: Justice Reinvestment Act - This bill and its companion measure (HB 1312) were introduced to implement recommendations from the Justice Reinvestment Coordinating Council designed to reduce the incarcerated population and spending on corrections, and to reinvest in strategies that increase public safety and reduce recidivism. The bill included several behavioral health-specific provisions.
HB 393/SB 362: Attorney's Fees for Maryland Constitutional Rights Violations - MDLC participated in a coalition led by the Public Justice Center for legislation authorizing an award of reasonable attorney's fees and expenses to a prevailing plaintiff in claims against a state or local government for violations the Maryland Constitution or Declaration of Rights. As with last session, the House bill cleared that chamber while the Senate bill languished in committee.
HB 683/SB 448: Child in Need of Assistance Proceedings, Juvenile Court Jurisdiction & Authority ("Dustin's Bill") - MDLC worked with Advocates for Children and Youth and others on legislation to codify a December 2015 court decision granting a juvenile court continuing jurisdiction in guardianship and CINA cases involving foster youth with developmental disabilities who are transitioning to adult services, to ensure continuity of supports for these vulnerable youth. The bills passed both chambers but failed in conference committee on Sine Die.
HB 1499/SB 413: DD Crisis Resolution - These bills would have required ongoing annual appropriations to serve individuals in "Crisis Resolution," the highest priority category on the Developmental Disabilities Administration's Waiting List, to provide supports to people with developmental disabilities most urgently in need of help. SB 413 passed the Senate but the House bill died in committee without a vote.
HB 1269/SB 223: Discrimination in Public Accommodations - These bills would have expanded the remedies available for discrimination by a place of public accommodation.
HB 579/SB 858: Mental Health Wraparound for Children - These bills would have required the Governor to restore funding for evidence-based Wraparound services to children and youth with intensive behavioral health needs. The bills were withdrawn after the sponsors received written assurance that the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will continue to make these services available to Maryland families.

HB 371/SB 819: Independent Living Tax Credit - This legislation would have allowed a State income tax credit for individuals or corporations that incur certain home renovation or construction costs for accessibility and universal design features.

1 comment:

  1. My son was in the classroom when this May 9, 2016 stabbing occurred. I have relayed to the MCPD investigator that students reported having made known that they felt unsafe with the student before the incident. The students understood that his capacity to interact with his environment and control himself was impaired. This incident supports the need for mental health services and questions why a student already "at-risk" was in a lunchtime classroom with only one adult present. I understand that the students subdued the stabber until security arrived.


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