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MCDD 2014 Maryland Legislative Update

Budget

Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE)

The MSDE budget includes the Office of School and Community Nutrition Programs; the Division of Early Childhood Development; the Division of Student, Family, and School Support; the Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services; the Juvenile Services Education Program; and the Division of Rehabilitation Services. Programs for students with disabilities are funded at the following levels: non-public placement - $110.9 million, Infants and Toddlers - $10.4 million, and Autism Waiver - $12 million. $201.9 million is provided for assistance to the State for educating students with disabilities.

Early Childhood

The MSDE Early Childhood Development FY 2015 budget has seen a $10.9 million increase over the last year. This increase is due largely to the creation of the Prekindergarten Expansion Program and the increase in the Child Care Subsidy Program that provides vouchers to eligible working families to help with the cost of child care. 

Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA)

The DDA, which is funded through the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), has expanded services for FY 2015. Consequently, the budget allotted the DDA an extra $10 million, with over half going to services for transitioning youth, and about a quarter to serve 99 people in “crisis” priority categories on DDA’s waitlist.

Bills of Interest

Education Law

HB 20: School Resource Officers

Provides for at least one school resource officer to be employed at each public school in Maryland. This officer serves a function similar to a security guard, and can deny access to non-students, suspended or expelled students, and anyone who disrupts or disturbs the normal education functions of the school. 
Heard in Ways and Means: not yet reported.

HB 413: Individual Education Program (IEP) Parental Notice Requirements and Service

Requires parents to be provided with a verbal and written explanation of their rights and responsibilities, and a Procedural Safeguards Notice at the initial IEP meeting.These documents must be in “plain language”, so that they are accessible to parents. 
Passed third reading in House, crossed over to first reading in Senate Education, Health, and Enviromental Affairs

HB 363/SB 1061: Truant Students

Outlines the requirements for a detailed Reengagement Plan with measurable goals and objectives for students over 16 not on track to graduate before age 21.
Heard in Ways and Means: not yet reported
Hearing in Education, Health, and Enviromental Affairs: 03/12/14

HB 440/SB58: Authorized Riders in School Vehicles

Stipulates the types of people authorized to board and ride on a school bus or other vehicle. Specifically allows an authorized school vehicle attendant for a child aboard, and a nurse, aide, or other individual authorized to work with a student by an IEP, 504, or other plan.
Passed third reading in House, crossed over to first reading in Senate Judicial Proceedings

HB 1/SB 64: Children in Need of Assistance – Education Stability

Requires courts to determine the educational stability of a foster child at certain types of hearings.
Passed third reading in both chambers

HB 297/SB332: Prekindergarten Expansion Act of 2014

Requested by the Office of the Governor, this bill expands the provision of prekindergarten services to four-year-olds at up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level. This bill also lays out the specifications for qualifying programs, including class size and teacher-student ratio.
Passed third reading in Senate, crossed over to hearing in House Ways and Means: not yet reported

HB 639/SB 679: Community-Partnered School-Based Mental Health Task Force

Establishes a Task Force on Community-Partnered School-Based Mental Health to study existing programs in the State, collect data about those programs to evaluate their efficacy, identify fiscally sustainable models for providing such services, and make relevant policy, strategy, and best practices recommendations to the governor.

Heard in Health and Government Operations: not yet reported
Heard in Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs: not yet reported
Hearing in Finance: cancelled 

SB 779/HB 1198: Due Process Hearings for Children With Disabilities – Burden of Proof

Amends the current law concerning due process hearings held to resolve a dispute relating to the provision of education to children with disabilities. This bill shifts the burden of proving that the child received a free appropriate public education the public agency. The “public agency” is the State Department of Education, local school system, or any state agency responsible for providing education to students with disabilities.
Heard in Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs: not yet reported
Heard in Ways and Means: not yet reported 

SB 715/HB 869Task Force to Study Chronic Absenteeism in Maryland’s Public Schools

Establishes a Task Force to collect and analyze data relating to chronic absenteeism, defined as missing four weeks or more of class. The Task Force will evaluate best practices strategies and make recommendations to the governor based on their studies and findings.
Heard in Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs: not yet reported
Heard in Ways and Means: not yet reported

Early Care

HB 428: Maryland Infants and Toddlers Program

Extends eligibility for the program until the beginning of the school year following the child’s fourth birthday. Also requires each county to publically post a list of its special education programs on its website.
Passed third reading in House, crossed over to hearing in Senate Education, Health, and Enviromental Affairs: 03/09/14

SB 654: Down Syndrome – Required Information

Requires health facilities and healthcare providers that provide prenatal care, postnatal care, or genetic counseling to provide DHMH-approved information about Down syndrome to expectant parents who have had a positive prenatal test result for Down syndrome, or parents of a child with Down syndrome. 
Heard in Finance: not yet reported

Miscellaneous

HB 294/SB 542: Christopher’s Law

Requires training for entrance-level and annual in-service police officers in CPR, proper level and use of force, cultural and gender diversity sensitivity, and interacting with individuals with physical, intellectual, and developmental disabilities.
Heard in Judiciary: not yet reported
Heard in Judicial Proceedings: favorable report

SB 418/HB 556: Low Intensity Support Services

Lowers the funding cap from $3,000 per person annually to $2,000 per person annually. This reduction would allow more individuals to be served.
Passed third reading in both chambers

HB 415: Developmental Disabilities Funding 

Directs the revenue from the sales and use tax on firearms and ammunition to the Waiting List Equity Fund. This fund is used to provide community-based services to individuals who are eligible for, but not receiving, services from the DDA.
Heard in Ways and Means: not yet reported

HB 798/SB 701: Children with Disabilities – Habilitative Services Information

Requires local school systems to provide written and verbal information about access to habilitative services to the parents of a child with a disability at the meeting for transition into the school system, the initial and annual IEP meetings, and upon approval or denial of a request for related services.
Passed third reading in both chambers

HB 637/SB 537: Rare and Expensive Case Management Program - Waiver Amendment

Requires DHMH to apply to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for an amendment to allow individuals ages 21-64 who have a qualifying rare and expensive case management diagnosis, but are not eligible for the Rare and Expensive Case Management Program due to eligibility from Medicare or the Medical Assistance Program through the spend down process, to be enrolled under certain conditions.
Heard in Health and Government Operations: not yet reported
Heard in Finance: not yet reported

SB 386: Home Wheelchair Lifts and Stairlifts

Adds home wheelchair lifts and stairlifts to the list of physical aids exempt from use and sales tax.
Passed third reading in Senate, crossed over to first reading in House Ways and Means

SB 210/HB 1053: Child Abuse – Failure to Report – Penalties and Task Force

Makes it a misdemeanor for individuals who are required to report child abuse to knowingly and willfully fail to report.
Heard in Judicial Proceedings: favorably reported
Hearing in Judiciary: unfavorably reported

Please note: the Maryland General Assembly’s 2014 legislative sessions ends on April 9, 2014. At the time of publication, all information about the proposed bills was current. 

This article was written by the MCDD’s legislative extern, Viola Woolums, a third-year health law student at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. 

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