2019 MD Legislative Session: What We’re Watching - Hearing and Speech Agency

2019 MD Legislative Session: What We’re Watching

Since the launch of HASA’s new Strategic Plan, the entire HASA team has been reinvigorated in our charge of connecting people to their worlds through education, hearing health, inclusion, language access, and speech & language programs. This renewed charge has us watching Maryland lawmakers very carefully this legislative session.

 

We’re excited about:

  1. HB1064 - This bill will establish the Maryland Sign Language Interpreter Board and set guidelines for licensure for ASL interpreters. The HASA team is happy to see legislation that protects Deaf consumers and outlines a professional path for interpreters.  Dave Coyne, HASA’s Director of Language Access and Inclusion, will be in Annapolis to support this bill during upcoming committee hearings. Introduced by Delegate Pam Queen, Montgomery County.
  2. SB0301/HB0145 - This bill will require hospitals in Maryland to adhere to a patient’s bill of rights, including providing sign language interpreters, translators, or other accommodations to patients. Introduced by Senator Joanne Benson, Prince George’s County.
  3. HB0248/SB0181 - This bill increases the Child Care Subsidy Program reimbursement rate, increasing access to high-quality child care programs and early intervention for families across the state.  Introduced by Delegate Adrienne Jones, Baltimore County.
  4. HB0664 - This bill establishes the Nonprofit Youth Development Program within the Maryland State Department of Education to provide grants to nonprofit organizations whose mission and programs target at-risk youth. More energy, resources, and funds directed toward Maryland youth are a direct investment in our state’s present and its future. We are hopeful that this bill will promote increased support for at-risk youth across the state and improve outcomes for youth in participating programs. Introduced by Delegate Darryl Barnes, Prince George’s County.

 

We’re against:

  1. HB0381 - This bill institutes a civil fine for parents/guardians of students who repeatedly violate their school district’s student code of conduct. Rather than punishment for parents, HASA emphasizes the importance of clear communication, targeted intervention, and connection with relevant services. By supporting students and their families, rather than punishing them, local school districts can encourage changed behavior while still holding individuals accountable for code of conduct violations. HASA encourages a more nuanced response to code of conduct violations rather than punitive measures for parents/guardians.

 

As more bills are introduced and heard in committee over the coming weeks we will share updates on any wins, changes, or concerns for the HASA community. If you have any thoughts on the bills highlighted above or any other issues currently in the legislature, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at hasa@hasa.org.

HASAHarry and Jeanette Weinberg Building 5900 Metro Drive Baltimore, MD 21215 410.318.6780