DD Day at the Legislature
On February 13, 2019, Chimes Maryland COO, Kevin Drumheller, and several staff members travelled to Annapolis, Maryland for Developmental Disabilities (DD) Day at the Legislature.
This day gives an opportunity to advance grassroots movements for people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD). Some residents and individuals from our day program had a chance to meet and speak with Maryland delegates and senators, letting them know the impact Chimes has had on them. Mr. Drumheller made sure they had the opportunity to ask the delegates and senators to support a bill which would increase the minimum wage for Direct Support Staff to $15 an hour.
The “Fight for $15” is a movement taking place all over the country. In Maryland, raising the minimum wage to $15 will benefit close to 600,000 workers. Direct support professionals work for community-based agencies doing critically important work supporting people with developmental disabilities so they may live and work in their communities. Support professionals are required under state law to complete DDA-mandated training, and often must also be certified by the Board of Nursing as a certified medication technician. Their work can be demanding physically, mentally and emotionally, and that requires skill, compassion and commitment. They are unique in that they are completely reliant on the State Dept. of Health to fund the supports they provide. An increase in the state minimum wage without adequate funding for the DD community providers would seriously jeopardize community supports for 17,000 Marylanders with developmental disabilities and their families.
Since DD Day, the Senate Finance Committee voted to amend/increase the rates proposed by the House Economic Matters Committee for developmental disability service providers in the “Fight for $15” minimum wage bill. While we have not reached the goal line and there will be more to do, thank you to all who advocated for this bill and contacted their Senators.