We have passed the halfway point of the 2014 legislative session, and I wanted to take the opportunity to share a few highlights:
On Friday, I was proud to cast my vote to increase the statewide minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2017. This commonsense policy will add money in the pockets of millions of hard working Marylanders, help them make ends meet and generate more consumer spending.
Next week, my legislation to ensure insurance coverage for children with autism will go into effect. For more information or to learn how to access coverage for your child, visit Pathfinders for Autism.
In other great news for children with disabilities, my legislation, HB 798, unanimously passed the House of Delegates last week. Thanks to Senator Rich Madaleno, this important legislation has also passed the Senate. This bill will require school systems to give parents of children with disabilities the resources they need to get their insurance to cover medically necessary physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and autism treatment. This includes sharing a copy of the Maryland Insurance Administration's new publication, "A Parent's Guide to Habilitative Services." If you know parents of children struggling to get coverage for their kids' therapies, please pass on this link.
I am continuing to work with Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA), Maryland Hospital Association and other stakeholders to make sure that sexual assault survivors have access to forensic medical exams at all hospitals across the state. Current state policy designates only one hospital in each county for these services, putting the burden on victims to get to the "right" hospital. ABC2 covered this issue and my bill in its report, "Rape Survivors Burdened by Maryland Law" - click here to watch the news story on this important bill!
And finally, I was recently honored to receive Mental Health Association of Maryland's "Legislator of the Year" award in recognition of two pieces of legislation I passed to ensure mental health and substance abuse treatment access in Maryland. (From left to right: Randall M. Lutz, Esq. (MHAMD VP Government Affairs), Linda Raines (MHAMD CEO), Dr. Stuart Silver (Chair of MHAMD Board), Dan Martin, Esq. (MHAMD Public Policy Director). Photo by Brian K. Glock.)
As always, please know that you can contact me on these issues and others.
Delegate Ariana Kelly