Public Policy Platform

Maryland Independent Living Network Public Policy Platform


Who we are: The Maryland Independent Living Network is a partnership of seven Centers for Independent Living (CILs) and the Maryland Statewide Independent Living Council (Maryland SILC). CILs are federally established nonprofit disability resource and advocacy organizations across Maryland operated by and for people with disabilities. The Maryland SILC, a governor-appointed advisory council, works with CILs to promote independent living in Maryland. The Independent Living Movement believes that people with disabilities are the best experts on their needs. We value equal opportunity, self-determination, and self-respect. We reject the idea that disability is a barrier to independent living, but recognize instead the environment and attitudes of our society are the barriers for people with disabilities.


Why we care: As people with disabilities, we have identified policy priorities informed by our day-to-day work experience with consumers, statewide studies, and needs assessments conducted by our Independent Living Network. The IL Network works to ensure the civil rights of people with disabilities in Maryland. This document is updated annually to address new laws and shifting priorities. We believe disability rights are civil rights, and we honor those who started the Independent Living Movement by continuing to advocate for the rights of our community.


What we do:


Statewide Independent Living Council


  1. Support the incorporation of the Maryland Statewide Independent Living Council to comply with the autonomy provisions required by federal law.




  1. Ensure in-person and mail in voting is accessible and private for all people with disabilities.


  1. Ensure polling places have staff who are trained on all accessibility needs.




  1. Support the least restrictive alternative to Guardianship.


Ending the Institutional Bias


  1. Increase Home and Community Based Services, regardless of payer.


  1. Designate facility residence as “homeless” allowing for emergency shelter placement.


  1. Comply with Olmstead requirements by allowing for 24/7 support in the home.


  1. Oppose the development and continuation of congregate or segregated settings.




  1. Increase number of accessible, affordable, integrated, and safe units.


  1. Increase number of vouchers for these units at 10% or less of Area Median Income (AMI).


  1. Increase and improve renters’ rights/Fair Housing enforcement.


  1. Increase funding to CILs for housing case management.


  1. Increase funds for home and rental accessibility assessments and modifications.




  1. Increase compliance with accessibility guidelines for train and bus stops, including floating bus stops.
  2. Increase public transit routes and times, particularly in rural areas.


  1. Increase public transit reliability.


  1. Provide for public transit options that cross jurisdictions.


  1. Increase accessibility of sidewalks, curb cuts, and their maintenance on all state, county, and city roads.
  2. Increase the number of affordable, accessible ride share (Uber/Lyft) vehicles and publicly regulated taxi cabs.


Healthcare/Long-Term Supports and Services


  1. Increase affordability to prescribed medications and access to Durable Medical Equipment.


  1. Require private insurers to match Medicaid Home and Community Based Services options.


  1. Oppose the use of physician assisted suicide or so-called “death with dignity” measures.


  1. Support the full range chronic pain management options.


  1. Increase access to Rare and Expensive Case Management and skilled nursing.


  1. Implement creative changes that will increase the efficiency of Medicaid Plan of Service Reviews for Community Options Waiver and Community First Choice.




  1. Create more flexibility within the Employed Individuals with Disabilities Medicaid Buy-In Program.


  1. Increase direct care professionals pay in Community Options Waiver, Community First Choice, and Community Personal Assistance Services.


  1. Increase employment of people with disabilities to at least 20% across state government.


  1. Increase funding for Division of Rehabilitation Services so they can better support the employment needs of people with disabilities.




  1. Increase Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funding and compliance with IDEA and 504 Plans.


  1. Mandate intended resource sharing between public and private schools regarding Individualized Education Plans.


  1. Increase funding for technology for students to participate in virtual learning.


Emergency Preparedness


  1. Create fast-track system for seamless transition from facility to community or diversion from facility during crisis.


  1. Insure people with disabilities are included in emergency preparedness planning.


Digital Equity


  1. Support full digital accessibility.


  1. Expand low-cost, high-speed internet access statewide.


  1. Increase access to private, independent communications in nursing facilities using both telephone and internet.


Mental Health Supports


  1. Ensure a coordinated community behavioral health system that provides equitable access to quality care.
  2. Address all unique behavioral health needs.



Contact Information: Hindley Williams
Sarah Basehart
Independence Now The IMAGE Center
240-898-2183 410-305-9199
sbasehart@innow.org hwilliams@imagemd.org


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