“Fight for $15” Bill Passes with 4% Yearly Increases to DD Services

(courtesy of The Arc Maryland)

Today, the “Fight for $15” Bill (HB166/SB280) passed through the House and Senate after a vote on both chambers to accept the Conference Committee report. These final bill changes see a flat 4% increase to DD Services each year from FY21 to FY26 as the minimum wage increases from $10.10 an hour to $15.

These funding levels are not at the levels we need to truly maintain ground as the minimum wage goes up in Maryland and we are deeply disappointed in this outcome. That said, it is important to note that the figures represent a funding amount that is a better scenario than either a decision to revert to the House percentages (3% each year) or a true compromise between the House and Senate versions of the bill which would have put our percentages at 4/4/3.75/3.5/3.5/3.

We believe that the percentages we got in the end are better that we would have received, had it not been for the incredible action of the self-advocates, families, provider staff, and others who came to testify, called, wrote emails and letters and mobilized for action nights with little more than a couple of days of notice. It is important to recognize that we also had incredible advocates in both the House and the Senate who worked tirelessly to get our funding restored and were successful in part as our funding in the House bill went from 3 to 4% across the board.

We will now begin the work of using this result as a base from which to build our relationships with lawmakers and other partners, as we continue our education and advocacy after the session and beyond to ensure people with disabilities and their families have the quality supports they need to live, learn and work.

Thank you again to who those answered the calls for action as this bill made its way through the General Assembly. Your presence was undoubtedly felt in Annapolis.

With Deep Gratitude,
The Arc Maryland Public Policy Team