By Annie Carver, Esq., staff attorney at Project HEAL, and Emily Arneson, AVP Government Affairs
With a little less than two months until the General Assembly adjourns, the 2023 legislative session is well underway. The session kicked off with the historic inauguration of Governor Wes Moore and Lieutenant Governor Aruna Miller, as well as eight freshman state senators and 40 freshman delegates.
Across the House and the Senate, state legislators have introduced over 2,200 bills. Kennedy Krieger Institute and the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD) have stayed busy tracking over 250 bills in the areas of education, administration, health and finance. Kennedy Krieger faculty and staff members have provided oral testimony, submitted written testimony, attended legislative meetings, and participated in other educational efforts, including Maryland’s Developmental Disabilities Day at the Legislature.
MCDD Director, Maureen van Stone, Esq., MS, testified on a gender inclusive signage bill in both the House and the Senate (HB 40/SB 84). This legislation aims to create signage on single restrooms that is both pictorially and descriptively gender neutral. Such signage would allow individuals with disabilities to use a restroom with a caregiver or direct support professional. The MCDD is also closely watching HB 294/SB 926, which would shift the burden of proof to local educational agencies in special education due process matters, and HB 1237, which would authorize a court to award attorney’s fees and related costs to a prevailing parent in a special education due process hearing.
Kennedy Krieger and the MCDD remain committed to advocating for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families and encourage others to get involved.