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2016 End-of-Session Wrap-Up: Governor’s Office for Children

Cassie Radack, Legislative Liaison

When the clock struck midnight on Sine Die, the 2016 legislative session finally came to a close. Since January 13, Annapolis has been swarming with senators, delegates, staffers, lobbyists, and special interest groups from all over the state, who worked hard to try to push their legislation to the finish line.

This legislative session, there were 2,817 bills introduced – a record high in Maryland. Of those, 834 passed, and thus far, 106 have been signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan.

The Governor’s Office for Children (Office) did not rest easy this session! We had five departmental bills introduced, testified at many bill hearings, submitted letters of support and concern on numerous pieces of legislation, and met with General Assembly members and stakeholders regarding a wide range of legislative and non-legislative issues.

The departmental bills were a result of the Office’s comprehensive review of Maryland statutes, as well as executive orders and regulations, to identify the work, activities, or meetings that should be streamlined, transferred, wound down, or eliminated. With the help of the Office’s staff, the Maryland Youth Advisory Council, and Delegate Chris West cross-filing one of our departmental bills in the House, four out of the five bills landed on the governor’s desk. (What a great success!) Below, you’ll find detailed information regarding the four bills signed into law.

House Bill 66
Entitled: Residential Child Care Capital Grant Program – Repeal
Status: Approved by the Governor

This law repeals the Residential Child Care Capital Grant Program. A “Residential Child Care Program” is an entity, licensed by the Departments of Juvenile Services, Human Resources, or Health and Mental Hygiene, that provides 24-hour-a-day care and services that include food, clothing, shelter, education, social services, health, mental health, and recreation. The Residential Child Care Capital Grants Program was never appropriated or implemented, as it was deemed duplicative and unnecessary. Additionally, the need for residential child care facilities has decreased substantially over the past 20 years.

House Bill 67
Entitled: Maryland Infants and Toddlers Program – Composition
Status: Approved by the Governor

This law repeals the requirement for the Maryland Infants and Toddlers Program to include early intervention services provided or supervised by the Governor’s Office for Children (Office). The requirement to include services provided by or supervised by the Office needed to be repealed as the Office does not provide or supervise services. Additionally, the Office has not had a connection to this program since it was transferred to the Maryland State Department of Education in 2002.

House Bill 446
Entitled: State Government – Maryland Youth Advisory Council – Revisions
Sponsored by: Delegate Chris West (District 42B, Baltimore County)
Status: In the House – Returned Passed

This law restructures the Maryland Youth Advisory Council (Council). Chapter 559 of 2008 established the Maryland Youth Advisory Council for the purpose of informing the Governor and the General Assembly of issues concerning youth. Since its establishment, the Council has struggled to achieve relevance. The changes this law makes are critical in order to enable the Council to be more efficient, engaged, and diverse. The result would be a Council that can provide the Governor and General Assembly an important perspective when developing youth policy.

Senate Bill 79
Entitled: State Citizens Review Board for Children – Penalties for Unauthorized Disclosure of Child Protection Case Information
Status: Approved by the Governor

This law repeals the authority of the Special Secretary for Children, Youth, and Families (now Executive Director of the Governor’s Office for Children) to impose a civil penalty on a member of the State Citizen’s Review Board for Children (Board) for disclosing confidential child protection case information. The authority is now transferred to the Secretary of the Department of Human Resources. It is more appropriate to place the authority to impose penalties with the Department of Human Resources, which is the administrative home for the Board, than with the Governor’s Office for Children, which has no connection to the work of the State Citizens Review Board for Children and has no process for developing or implementing penalties.

Now that the 2016 legislative session is complete, we will take a quick breath, and get right back to work to, in the words of Governor Hogan, change Maryland for the better!

If you have any questions regarding the information in this blog post, please contact Cassie Radack at cassie.radack@maryland.gov.


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