Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Sign Up To Testify On These Upcoming MD Bills

Bills Introduced in Maryland General Assembly, 2015
For information or to sign up to testify: Contact Lisa Lowe at Heroin Action Coalition

Please come to Annapolis and testify on whichever of these bills will impact your life the most.  Your testimony should be no longer than three minutes.  State whether you support or oppose the bill and why –why is it meaningful to you? –how will it impact your life? –the life of your loved one?  Please contact me and let me know that I can count on you to testify in Annapolis.  If you do not care enough to show up –your legislator will not care enough to implement the changes you would like to see!  Prior to the hearing, if possible, visit your legislator on the committee where the bill will be heard and talk to him about why he needs to vote in favor of or opposed to the piece of legislation.  Write your legislator a letter asking for his support.  Pick up the phone and call your legislator.  The more they hear from you, the more attention they will pay to the bill that you care about –the bill that will make your own life better or worse. 

Strengthen Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP)
Ø     February 5th @1:00.  HB 3.  Secretary Kelly Schulz in Health & Government Operations Committee. 
ü  Expands and strengthens PDMP
ü  Currently under revision
Testimonials Needed From:  People who have horror stories about over-prescribing doctors / prescribing for profit

Methadone Clinics in Neighborhoods
Ø     February 18th @ 1:00.  SB 199.  Sen. Joan Conway in Finance Committee.
ü  The establishment of Opioid Maintenance Programs (Suboxone, methadone) must include a licensing provision based on an assessment of factors within the zip code where the facility is to be located:  number of existing treatment slots · number of people in need · severity of drug-related crime · number of people at risk of addiction · the need for the program.  
Testimonials Needed From:  People in support of new treatment facilities / people seeking to advocate against stigma and for equal rights to medical care for those with SUD

Treatment Oversight / Performance Measures / Assessment Criteria
Ø     February 18th @ 1:00.  SB 174.  Sen. Adelaide Eckardt in Finance Committee. 
ü  Establishes the Behavioral Health Advisory Council in the Office of the Governor to:  1) impact policy to ensure a quality system of care based on outcome measures;  2) establish a comprehensive approach to prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery services for individuals with behavioral health disorders and their families
Testimonials Needed From:  People with treatment provider and recovery services horror stories

Ø     February 25th @ 1:00.  SB 281.  Sen. Thomas Middleton in Finance Committee.
Hearing TBA.  HB 650.  Del. Joseline Pena-Melnyk in Health & Government Ops Committee
ü  Establishes a Blue Ribbon Commission to study Maryland’s Behavioral Health System
Testimonials Needed From:  People with treatment provider and recovery services horror stories

Ø     March 12th @1:00.  SB 607.  Senator Katherine Klausmeier in Finance Committee.
ü  Establishes a Maryland Opioid Use Disorder Consortium
Testimonials Needed From:  People with treatment provider and recovery services horror stories

Ø     Hearing TBA.  SB 327.  Sen. Katherine Klausmeier in Finance Committee.
ü  Codifies American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) standards for determining levels of treatment
Testimonials Needed From:  People with treatment provider and recovery services horror stories –particularly those who were discharged prematurely or not discharged to the next level of care after a brief 28 day (or less) detox

Ø     Hearing TBA.  SB 385.  Sen. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam in Finance Committee.
ü  Codifies ASAM criteria for determining levels of treatment
ü  Requires the Behavioral Health Administration to conduct a yearly evaluation of the performance / outcome measures of publicly-funded SUD providers
ü  Reports findings directly to the Governor
ü  Information gathered is tied to funding and accreditation / guides policy
Testimonials Needed From:  People with treatment provider and recovery services horror stories –particularly those who were discharged prematurely or not discharged to the next level of care after a brief 28 day (or less) detox

Strengthen Parity Laws
Ø     February 25th @ 1:00.  SB 586.  Sen. Thomas Middleton in Finance Committee. 
ü  Requires HMOs / insurance providers to submit plans for parity compliance to the Maryland Insurance Commission.
Testimonials Needed From:  People who have insurance horror stories. 

Ø     March 4th @ 1:00.  SB 556.  Finance Committee. 
ü  Requires state laws governing health insurance to conform to federal laws
Testimonials Needed From:  Need to find out more about the impact of this bill on families. 

Ø     March 4th @ 1:00.  SB 606.  Sen. Catherine Pugh in Finance Committee.
ü  Prevents insurers from denying payment for abuse-deterrent medications
Testimonials Needed From:  Need to find out more about the impact of this bill on families.

Ø     Hearing TBA.  SB 430.  Sen. Katherine Klausmeier in Finance Committee. 
ü  Applies Parity Law to Maryland Medical Assistance Program
Testimonials Needed From:  Would this bill force Medicaid to pay for residential treatment?  If so, people who have Medicaid and want a residential treatment option (such as Hope House) will need to testify. 

“Rehabilitation Not Incarceration” / Re-entry of Ex-Offenders
Ø     February 19th @ 1:00.  SB 526.  Sen. Jaime Raskin in Judicial Proceedings Committee.
February 26th @ 1:00.  HB 244.  Del. Curt Anderson in Judiciary Committee. 
ü  Shields an ex-offender’s prison record from employers, etc. after 3 years of completing their sentences with no subsequent violations
Testimonials Needed From:  Ex-offenders who have found it difficult to find a job / Friends and family of ex-offenders or those currently incarcerated

Ø     February 24th @ 1:00.  HB 615.  Del David Moon in Judiciary Committee.
ü  Prohibits the Division of Parole & Probation from issuing a Violation of Probation for a client charged with use or possession of less than 10 gr of marijuana or who comes up positive for marijuana in a urinalysis
Testimonials Needed From:  People in recovery from an opiate use disorder and practicing “harm reduction” by using marijuana instead / People on probation who have re-addicted to legal maintenance opiates (Suboxone, methadone) who would otherwise choose medical marijuana / People on probation who have experienced negative legal consequences as a result of using medical marijuana

Ø  February 26th @ 1:00.  HB 121.  Del. Curt Anderson in Judiciary Committee. 
ü  Repeals mandatory minimum sentences for drug-related offenses
ü  Allows those currently incarcerated with mandatory minimum sentences to have a hearing
ü  Allows those convicted of drug possession / distribution to access SUD treatment under an 8-507 order
Testimonials Needed From:  Those who have been incarcerated for a SUD related offense / Friends and family members of individuals currently incarcerated for a SUD related offense

Ø  February 26th @ 1:00.  HB 388.  Del. Kathleen Dumais in Judiciary Committee.
    February 26th @ 1:00.  SB 602.  Sen. Mike Miller in Judicial Proceedings.
ü  Establishes a Justice Reinvestment Coordinating Council
ü  Reduces spending on corrections and reinvests in strategies to increase public safety and reduce recidivism (treatment perhaps)
ü  Concerned with the cost of jailing people with a mental health disorder, substance use disorder, and poor people who are financially incapable of paying fines –ie. driving while suspended, behind on child support
Testimonials Needed From:  People incarcerated for a SUD related issue and their friends and family / Advocates supporting the redistribution of funds from incarceration to rehabilitation (prevention, treatment and recovery services) / impoverished people who have been jailed due to their inability to pay fines –particularly traffic fines

Ø     February 26th at 1:00.  SB 340.  Sen. Joan Conway in Education, Health & Environment.
ü  Eliminates barriers to allow people with criminal records to vote
Testimonials Needed From:  those who have been incarcerated and their friends and family

Ø     March 3rd @ 1:00.  SB 582.  Sen. Catherine Pugh in Finance Committee.
ü  Establishes a pilot program for small business development by ex-offenders
Testimonials Needed From:  Friends and family of individuals currently in jail / Ex-offenders who struggled to find suitable employment upon their re-entry to the community or their family members

Ø     February 10th @ 1:00.  HB 222.  Del. Kathleen Dumais in Judiciary Committee.
March 4th @ 1:00.  SB 303.  Senator Susan Lee in Judicial Proceedings Committee. 
ü  Criminal offense (equated to murder) for distributing heroin or fentanyl which leads to an overdose death;
ü  Person charged does not necessarily have to distribute directly to the deceased;
ü  Felony conviction for up to 30 years in prison;
ü  Incorporates a Good Samaritan Clause.
Testimonials Needed From:  People who have “distributed” to friends (regardless of whether it was “sold” or “given”) / Friends and family of individuals currently in jail / Friends and family of overdose victims
Note:  This bill currently DOES NOT have an amendment outlining quantity or defining “dealer”, as is specified in already existing federal law.  Therefore, testimony is “in support” or “in opposition” of the bill as currently written

Expand Good Samaritan Laws
Ø     March 4th @ 1:00.  SB 654.  Senator C. Muse in Judicial Proceedings. 
ü  Strengthens immunity clause in Good Samaritan Law.
Testimony:  Friends who have called for help when witnessing an overdose / Overdose survivors who have been left alone by companions when they overdosed / People who have already benefited by the Good Samaritan Law / People who have criminally prosecuted despite the Good Sam Law

Expand Access to Naloxone
Ø     March 12th @ 1:00.  SB 516.  Sen. Katherine Klausmeier in Finance Committee.
ü  Expands who can conduct Naloxone trainings
Testimony:  People who have had a difficult time finding / accessing Naloxone.

Behavioral Health Budget
Ø     Hearing TBA.  HB 70 / SB 55.  Speakers in Appropriations Committee.





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