Happy New Year! Today the Maryland General Assembly begins the first full week of the 2020 legislative session. Elected officials will spend the next few months debating Maryland’s budget and over 2,000 legislative proposals covering an array of issues. As in years past, MHAMD expects to play a major role in these deliberations as we work to ensure that our friends and loved ones living with mental health and substance use disorders have access to high quality services.

2020 Maryland Behavioral Health Coalition Agenda

MHAMD has joined with its partners on the Maryland Behavioral Health Coalition in support of an ambitious agenda for the 2020 session. Building on a resoundingly successful 2019 campaign in which nearly every Coalition priority was enacted, the Coalition is once again asking legislators to Keep the Door Open for the one in four Marylanders with behavioral health needs. In 2020, the Coalition aims to:

  • Enact policies to ensure the appropriate enforcement of behavioral health parity laws and provide consumer payment protections for out-of-network care
  • Ensure full funding for prior ‘Keep the Door Open’ and minimum wage budget commitments
  • Increase school behavioral health supports to improve student outcomes
  • Expand access to crisis response services and overdose and suicide prevention efforts

Your support is critical to our success. Keep an eye out over the coming months for action alerts and other ways you can get involved. Lawmakers are faced with many competing priorities, so we need you to speak up and make your voice heard. Together we can make a difference.

Mark Your Calendars

Join MHAMD on January 30 for our 2020 Legislative Briefing and Reception. This year we will we will focus on the behavioral health needs of children with adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and explore programs, services and policy reforms that can protect children from the negative life outcomes that result from childhood trauma. Learn more and register here.

Join the Maryland Behavioral Health Coalition on February 27 for the Keep the Door Open Rally in Annapolis. Make your voice heard and stand up for the one in four Marylanders living with a mental health or substance use disorder. And be sure to follow the Coalition on Twitter and Facebook.

Upcoming Hearings, Briefings and Other Activities

With the session just five days old, bill introductions have been limited. Nevertheless, there are several activities of note in the coming days. In addition to the briefings listed below, MHAMD will be paying close attention on Wednesday when Governor Hogan introduces his Fiscal Year 2021 budget. Check out our update next week for initial reactions.

  • Several MHAMD coalition partners will host an Overdose Prevention Site demonstration (flyer attached) [Tuesday, January 14 – 8:00  a.m. – 1:00 p.m. – House Office Building, Room 180]
  • Overview of the final policy and funding recommendations of the Kirwan Commission [Tuesday, January 14 – 1:00 p.m. – Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee]
  • Meeting of the Justice Reinvestment Oversight Board [Tuesday, January 14 – 3:00 p.m. – House Office Building, Room 145]
  • Briefing from the Maryland Managed Care Organization Association [Wednesday, January 15- 1:00 p.m. – House Health and Government Operations Committee]

Further information about the material above is available on the
Maryland General Assembly website

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