The Maryland General Assembly session kicked off in January, and legislators introduced many bills of interest to disability advocates. The Arc Baltimore participates in calls to action by the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Coalition (DD Coalition).
The DD Coalition is comprised of: The Arc Maryland, the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council, People on the Go of Maryland, Disability Rights Maryland, and the Maryland Association of Community Resources (MACS). Each of these organizations may develop their own platforms with areas of focus, and the entire coalition supports many issues.
For example, The Arc Maryland 2022 Public Policy Platform priorities includes nine key areas: adequate funding for community programs; equitable access to services and supports; DDA waiting list and autism waiver registry; transitioning youth; education and children’s services; employment; law enforcement and justice; and civil rights. The Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council 2022 policy priorities include: education, community supports, transportation, healthcare, criminal justice, technology, employment, family support, institutions, leadership, advocacy, supported decision making, housing, early childhood education, civil rights, and post-secondary education.
These platforms are important and helpful as member coalitions initiate discussion with legislators about needed policy changes that may ultimately lead to a bill. In the current session, coalition members are following, supporting, or opposing many bills that cover the lifespan of people with disabilities and their families’ needs, from infancy to end of life. It may establish a regulation concerning special education or action to expand eligibility for services under a waiver.
Stay abreast of developments in Annapolis by subscribing to The Arc Baltimore’s Advocacy Network email at www.thearcbaltimore.org/enews where we cover highlights and request your assistance with specific issues.