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Legislation

Photo of book with Law typed along the spine of book with mallot sitting on book.During the legislative session, the Maryland Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is responsible for monitoring various bills that are introduced in the state legislature and may be of interest to Deaf and hard of hearing Marylanders. The office also ensures that the community remains informed of updates on hearings and votes on pending legislation. While the Governor’s Office does not endorse specific bills, Deaf and hard of hearing Marylanders are encouraged to get involved, be informed, and make their concerns known to their elected officials.

How Our Laws Are Made

To understand more about the legislative process and how a bill becomes a law, please review How a Bill Becomes Law. The office also has a video series of the legislative process in ASL on Facebook and YouTube.

This flowchart on the Maryland General Assembly may help you understand its structure. It will be helpful to also explore the Maryland General Assembly’s website and learn about the dates of interest for the 2020 session.

2020 Legislative Session

Citizens may testify on issues of concern to them. To submit a written or oral testimony, please attend the bill’s scheduled hearing; in particular, you will need to arrive early to sign the witness sheet before the hearing begins (typically at least an hour in advance) and provide copies of your testimony.

Each committee has its own rules on how to offer testimony. Should the rules/guidelines change, please contact that specific committee.

As the date gets closer to the hearing, the weekly hearing schedule will specify the number of copies of written testimony required and when to show up to sign the witness sheet before a hearing begins.

Please contact the Department of Legislative Services if you need accommodations for the hearing, such as sign language interpreters.

Scheduled Bill Hearings (2020) 

Below are some bills that the office is currently monitoring. To find out the current status of each bill and its scheduled hearings, click on the bill’s link for more information:

HB 383: State Department of Education – Student Performance Reports – Students With Disabilities

SB 416: Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compact
HB1112: Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compact

SB 504: Office of the Attorney General – Special Education Ombudsman
HB 699: Office of the Attorney General – Special Education Ombudsman

SB 610: Community Colleges – Supplemental Services and Supports for Students With Disabilities Grant Program

SB 657: Income Tax – Personal Exemption – Disabled Individuals
HB 806: Income Tax – Personal Exemption – Disabled Individuals

HB 794: Education – Educational Interpreters – Certification Requirements

SB 851: Human Services – Department of Disabilities – Accessibility Programs
HB1003: Human Services – Department of Disabilities – Accessibility Programs

HB1523: Human Relations – Public Accommodations – Captioning in Movie Theaters (Open Captioning Equality Act of 2020)

HB1652: Maryland Sign Language Interpreter Act