On Wednesday, February 10, 2016, UCP on the Potomac joined a group of 600 advocates and allies from the greater disabilities community in Annapolis for “DD Day” at the Capitol. 2016 marked yet another year with a standing room only crowd. Despite morning snowfall, hundreds of dedicated advocates engaged with leaders at the Capitol and shared legislative priorities. Represented by Gale Gray, this year marked UCP on the Potomac’s inaugural participation in the annual event which is sponsored by the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Coalition.
Champion legislators spoke about the hot topics of this year’s General Assembly including funding for people waiting in Crisis Resolution on the state’s Waiting List, rates for direct care workers, the ABLE Act, and more! Response from the General Assembly was promising. Just days after DD Day, the Maryland General Assembly’s Administrative, Executive & Legislative Review Committee (AELR) put a ‘hold’ on controversial proposed regulations impacting children and adults with developmental disabilities that would withdraw Targeted Case Management from those deemed ‘Supports Only’ eligible. UCP on the Potomac along with Arc Maryland and countless advocates had raised concerns about these proposed changes on DD Day.
Accordingly, we offer deep appreciation to Senator Roger Manno(Montgomery County) and Delegate Samuel Rosenberg(Baltimore City) for their leadership to put these changes on hold for further review. The AELR committee is requesting a more detailed study of the issues and to ensure concerns of stakeholders are heard and addressed. Advocacy works when stakeholders engage!
In addition to legislative advocacy, Maryland’s direct support professionals were recognized for their commitments and contributions all year long. Deputy Chief of Staff Christopher Shank and Secretary Carol Beatty presented Shonee Moore, Direct Support Professional, with a citation from the Governor for her role in assisting residents of a group home escape from a life threatening house fire.
The schedule of events closed with remarks on the Governor’s proposed budget with Deputy Chief Shank stating, “We can’t afford to leave any Marylander behind.” UCP on the Potomac could not agree more.