tags: Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities

The Maryland General Assembly and the Gubernatorial Race

By Emily Arneson, director of government relations for Kennedy Krieger Institute, with contributions from Ken Capone, director of People On the Go Maryland, and Alyssa Thorn, Esq., Project HEAL staff attorney

Maryland is experiencing an exciting time, with many changes on the horizon! Governor Larry Hogan is term-limited and ineligible to run for reelection. Many candidates have declared their intention to run for governor, including Peter Franchot, Doug Gansler, Wes Moore, Tom Perez, Kelly Schulz and many more. As a nonprofit organization, Kennedy Krieger Institute will not endorse any of these individuals, but we will provide voter resources on how and when to vote, and links to information to learn about each candidate. Stay tuned!

As Comptroller Peter Franchot is a candidate for governor, his seat will be opening up, with Tim Adams, Barry Glassman and Brooke Lierman as declared candidates. Treasurer Nancy Kopp recently announced her intention to retire by the end of the year. The treasurer is elected by members of the Maryland General Assembly, and on December 9, they elected longtime Delegate Dereck Davis to fill that position.

If all that wasn’t riveting enough, Maryland participated in the Federal Census process, and as a result, legislative districts are being redrawn, as required by law. Two commissions have completed new maps, with listening tours happening around the state to gather local input on the breakdown of representation. We could see changes to our Congressional districts as well as our local elected officials’ districts.

Because of the redistricting process, Maryland General Assembly leaders convened a special legislative session beginning December 6 to work on approving a map, electing the new treasurer and overturning governor vetoes from the 2021 legislative session that ended in April. The Institute, including the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD), monitored the session for any legislation applying to the populations we serve.

The General Assembly has also seen many changes in leadership. Most relevant to our interests, Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary has been selected as the new chair of the Ways and Means Committee, which covers important issues related to education, funding of transportation programs, and issues related to children, youth and families. We are honored that Delegate Atterbeary has an established relationship with Kennedy Krieger, including an important connection with Maureen van Stone, Esq., MS, the MCDD’s director, as both are 2012 graduates of Leadership Maryland.

Kennedy Krieger prepared for the 2022 legislative session in partnership with the MCDD, Project HEAL (Health, Education, Advocacy, and Law), and People On the Go. In this issue, you will also find important information about legislation People On the Go has worked on in the interim. We anticipate seeing legislation related to the management and oversight of the Maryland Department of Education’s Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS), early childhood screenings, nonvisual access accountability, cameras in special education classrooms, a behavioral assessment workgroup, the Developmental Disabilities Administration waiting list, transitioning youth and more.

We encourage our faculty members, staff members, trainees, families and all those we serve to get involved in the legislative process. Your voice is important and essential in crafting legislation and passing bills that will positively impact our community! Self-advocates can join the Legislative Policy Subcommittee of People On the Go, an active group that weighs in on legislation through written and verbal testimony.

Alternatively, reach out to the MCDD or Emily Arneson, director of government relations at Kennedy Krieger, for more information. Also, save the date: February 22, 2022, is Maryland Developmental Disabilities Day at the Maryland General Assembly! More information will be provided closer to the event date.