Dear MACS Members,
We wanted to let you know that the House of Delegates voted today to pass HB 166 / Fight for $15 with the amendments adopted by the Economic Matters Committee. Those amendments, as you know, put the funding mandate for DD services at 3% annually FY 21 through FY 26. This is obviously deeply troubling. You all generated hundreds of calls and emails, and we know that legislators heard you. We were working with a few of our supporters in the House to put an amendment on the floor that would have increased our funding at least to the level of the other Medicaid providers, but unfortunately it ultimately wasn’t offered. Why – you ask? We can’t know for sure, but there has been much discussion about the budget shortfall the state is facing, combined with the need to provide funding to all Medicaid providers, so the House chose to take a limited amount of funding and spread it across 8 different provider groups.
We are also told that the House would prefer to see the Senate “fix” the DD funding issue, and then they would take it up when the bill returns to the House for final passage. So our advocacy will now turn to the Senate, where we will push very hard for an amendment to adequately fund our services, and then we will ask the House to support the higher funding level we hope to see the Senate adopt.
I so wish that we had better news to share. We really have our work cut out for us. We will be in touch shortly with advocacy messaging for the Senate, which will need to begin in the next day or two. In the meantime, if you hear back from Delegates with whom you have been in communication, the message is that we are deeply disappointed in the vote that so many of them took to raise the minimum wage without adequately addressing the need for funding for developmental disability services, and that we urge them to support any increase adopted by the Senate. Please note that not all Delegates voted for the bill. While we have not seen the vote tally yet, it was largely a vote along party lines.
We will be in touch soon, and thank you for all of your advocacy.
-Laura and Lauren
Maryland Association of Community Services (MACS)
We know this is lengthy alert but it contains time sensitive information and it is critical that you have all of the relevant facts and take action. The Fight for $15 bill was amended and voted out of committee tonight and now goes to the House floor with a vote expected later this week. Be sure to scroll down for specific messaging points and contact information.
This evening the House Economic Matters Committee voted unanimously to cut the rate increases for DD services in HB 166/ Fight for $15 to 3% annually, while adding higher rate increases for several other Medicaid provider groups, including nursing homes, behavioral health, medical day programs, home care workers, and others.
The bill as introduced:
· included rate increases for dd services between 5.5% and 7% annually
· kept funding for the “wage factor” to cover the cost of all direct support professional wages at least 20% above the minimum wage, and ultimately ended at 32% above the minimum wage in FY24.
The bill as amended by the Economic Matters Committee:
Timeline- as amended
Date Minimum Wage Wage factor as % of minimum wage
1/1/20 $11.00/hr 20% (assuming 3.5% rate increase in budget)
1/1/21 $11.75/hr 12% above minimum wage
1/1/22 $12.50/hr 9% above minimum wage
1/1/23 $13.25/hr 7% above minimum wage
1/1/24 $14.00/hr 5% above minimum wage
1/1/25 $15.00/hr 1% above minimum wage
EVERY member of the Economic Matters committee voted in support of this amendment.
PLEASE TAKE ACTION IMMEDIATELY!
We ask that you do BOTH of the following steps:
FIRST, Contact your legislators on the House Economic Matters Committee, by email AND phone, with the following message (and please personalize rather than cut and paste if possible:
To contact Warren E. Miller, our representative from Carroll County, please click here.
403 House Office Building
6 Bladen Street
Annapolis, MD 21401
Phone: 410-841-3582 | 301-858-3582 | Toll-free in MD: 1-800-492-7122 ext. 3582
Fax: 410-841-3571 | 301-858-3571
SECOND, contact all of the Delegates in your district and Speaker of the House Michael Busch with the following message:
Click here for a list of legislators by district:
Click here if you don’t know who your elected representatives are. Reminder— only contact your state delegates (not your Congressional representatives):
Speaker Busch can be reached at 410-841-3800 | 301-858-3800 | Toll-free in MD: 1-800-492-7122 ext. 3800 and firstname.lastname@example.org
Please take time to read the note from MACS, our State Association regarding the Fight for Fifteen legislation.
Please consider sending emails or making calls to the Sponsors of the Bill and our one Delegate from Carroll Co. highlighted on the Economic Matters Committee, urging their support of the Bill.
You are encouraged to contact any other Senators on the Finance or House Economic Matters Committees, especially those you may know personally, asking their support.
You can cut and past the message noted below right into your email, or if you call, use the message to communicate your support.
From Maryland Association of Community Services:
There are important things happening with minimum wage this week and we need your outreach as well as your help in activating your networks— your staff, your boards, the people you support and their families. Why the urgency? First, the Senate Finance Committee is holding a hearing on the minimum wage bill (SB 280) on Thursday— and it is important that they hear from the DD community. Secondly, we have heard that the House Economic Matters Committee will be voting on the House minimum wage bill (HB 166) early next week. Many of you reached out to Economic Matters during the week of the House hearing, but they need to hear from you again as they head into their voting session.
There will be several points at which we will be asking you to take action as the minimum wage bill progresses, and we will be sending you specific messaging for each of those points in time. Some will be intended as a quick email or phone call or social media update— so that the concerns of the DD community continue to be reinforced to legislators whose responsibility it is to protect and support vulnerable populations. We need legislators to understand the importance of supporting the Fight for Fifteen bill with the current language that provides a mandate to the Governor to include funding for DD community services. We also need them to fully appreciate the impact on DD community services if they don’t protect the language as drafted.
For the current message, we are going to focus on the workforce crisis. Subsequent messaging will follow a similar format. As with any messaging, it is best to personalize it. First, if you are a constituent, and/or work in the legislator’s district, be sure to let them know that. Next, give specific examples of the impact of the workforce crisis in your life/your agency— and/or what a worsening workforce crisis would mean for your life/your agency. Incorporate the messaging below.
Support the Fight for Fifteen legislation with mandated funding for Developmental Disability community services because…
We are facing the worst workforce crisis in memory!
The state reimbursement rate for DDA community services is the lowest it has been, relative to minimum wage, in 14 years.
Raising the minimum wage without adequate funding for DD community services will jeopardize
the ability of providers to continue to provide supports to people with developmental disabilities.
We Are Counting on You to Protect Community Services
for People with Developmental Disabilities!
Support HB 166/SB 280 and keep the funding for developmental disability community services in the bill!