Our staff and clients have been advocating mightily this legislative session on key bills for our community, and their voices are making a difference. See a full overview of our legislative priorities and how they're faring here. For a quick update on our key bills as the session enters its final weeks, read below.
TDAP: HB 1615/SB 1231
THIS IS BIG. We are the closest we’ve been in 15-plus years to making a TDAP increase happen.
The bill that would increase Maryland’s Temporary Disability Assistance Program (TDAP) benefit is halfway to becoming a reality: It passed the House of Delegates March 16 and is now in the Senate.
See details below but in short, HB 1615/SB 1231, if passed, would increase the monthly TDAP benefit to $215 a month as of July 1, 2019—up from $185 a month today and, thanks to an FY2019 budget increase, $195 as of July 1, 2018. It would then increase $8-$12 each year until it is equal to the Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) benefit for a one-person household, or $306 a month.
But in the immediate term, we can’t leave Senate passage of the TDAP bill to chance, so we’re pushing senators hard in the days ahead, and we need your help! Here’s what you can do:
- Email members of the Senate Finance Committee between now and next Wednesday with this short, urgent message: Please support HB 1615/SB 1231! And email your own senator, too, because when the bill goes to the floor for a full Senate vote, your representative’s vote in favor will be critical.
HB 1615/SB 1231—as amended—would:
- Make TDAP an entitlement, just like Maryland’s Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) program and Food Supplement Program (FSP)
- Increase the benefit amount gradually over several years to bring it to the same level as the TCA benefit for a family of one, which is currently $306 a month
- Index TDAP to TCA, which, like SNAP, is indexed to a percentage (61%) of Maryland’s Minimum Living Level
Certify Community Health Workers: HB 490/SB 163
We are feeling very good about this one passing.
The bill to certify community health workers passed the House of Delegates March 13. Its Senate counterpart never moved forward, but because the House version passed, that version crossed over to the Senate with amendments and is now with the Senate Finance Committee, where it will get a hearing.
HB 490/ SB 163—as amended—would:
- Establish a State Community Health Worker Advisory Committee to advise the Department of Health on certification and training of community health workers.
- Require that all certified community health worker training programs in the state be approved by the Department of Health. Other programs could still exist, but they could not be called certified CHW training programs.
- Require the Department of Health to adopt regulations for accrediting community health worker training programs.
- Allow accreditation of apprenticeship programs by the Department of Health if they meet requirements
- Establish voluntary certification of individual CHWs
Adult Dental Benefit: SB 284
More very good and big news...
The Senate passed the adult Medicaid benefit bill with amendments that would not create a full adult dental benefit, but instead an adult dental benefit pilot. Details still to come, but this is a huge step forward in the push for Medicaid coverage and your advocacy mattered! Now on to the House of Delegates...
Minimum Wage: HB 664/ SB 543
This bill has not made progress in either chamber since hearings in late February and early March. Stay tuned.
A couple other bills we’ve been rooting for…
End Youth Homelessness Act: HB 1224/ SB 1218
This breezed through the House of Delegates and is now in the Senate. Stay tuned!
Medicaid Coverage for Peer Recovery Services: HB 765/ SB 772
The bill to make services delivered by peer recovery specialist reimbursable through Medicaid is making its way through both chambers with amendments that don’t make the services reimbursable through Medicaid, but do create a workgroup that will make recommendations on the reimbursement of certified peer recovery specialists to the governor and General Assembly by December, 2018.