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Advocating for Families during the Maryland Legislative Session

Beth Hess - Monday, January 30, 2017
The 2017 Maryland legislative session convened on January 11. There will be many bills this year related to behavioral health, including mental health and substance use issues.

  • Each bill initially is assigned to a committee. Both the website of the Mental Health Association and that of the Maryland General Assembly will provide information on a bill’s committee assignment.  Committee assignments are key: this is where the bill will receive a hearing, and no bill will go to the full House or Senate unless it passes out of committee.
  • If you wish to advocate in support of or in opposition to a bill, it is best to contact the legislators on the committee to which the bill has been assigned. Committee assignments of legislators can be found on the Maryland General Assembly website. While it is always valuable to voice your opinion, it is important to remember that legislators are primarily interested in the opinions of their constituents. Therefore, your voice will have the greatest impact if one of your legislators sits on the committee in which the bill is being heard. To identify your legislators, enter your home address here.
  • If there is a piece of legislation that you feel strongly about and can speak to directly, you may want to submit oral testimony and/or written testimony at the bill hearing. There are instructions on how to do this on the Maryland General Assembly web site, or contact Ann Geddes at ageddes@mdcoalition.org for assistance.

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