The Maryland General Assembly completed its work for the 2016 Legislative Session and adjourned Sine Die at midnight on April 11, 216. Nearly 3, 288 bills were introduced this session - 1173 originated in the Senate and 1,644 originated in the House. The Arc Maryland, in partnership with the DD Coalition and the Governmental Affairs representatives from each local chapter, tracked, or testified on over 50 bills that would have had varying impacts on individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.This Session was exciting, challenging, and productive. Beginning with the start of the Session on January 13, key bills have passed and will be signed by Governor Hogan into law: ABLE Act, Equal Employment Opportunity Act, IEP Translation Bill and nondiscrimination in guardianship and parenting solely based on the disability of the parent or guardian.
The Governor's FY2017 budget is very positive for the Developmental Disabilities Administration with a $71M (6%) increase. The additional funding includes $35.7M to fully fund the direct support staff wage initiative, funding to support people in emergency and crisis situations, and transitioning youth services. It also includes funding to continue supporting people who started receiving services in FY2016.
A major disappointment was Senate Bill 413/HB1499 -Developmental Disabilities - Crisis Resolution Funding for 110 of the highest priority need and urgency on the DDA Waiting List. People with developmental disabilities and their families are in crisis and desperately need the services that would have been provided with passage of this legislation. This legislation would have provided $3.5 million in the budget for ongoing services to individuals in the "crisis resolution category" of the waiting list for developmental disabilities services. SB 413 passed the Senate. Despite a flood of calls during the final weekend and last day of the Session, the bill died in the House Health & Government Operations Committee without going to vote.
Click here to read the full 2016 Legislative Wrap Up