on Tuesday, April 29 at the Maryland Association of Community Services Annual Achievement Awards
at the BWI Marriott.
Addressing over three hundred people that included Direct Support Professionals, people with disabilities, and their families and agency providers, Senator Middleton
noted that the legislation was critical because "This community could not afford to leave direct support workers behind.
, a Charles County Democrat, said he
has long advocated for disability workers because he's
been inspired by what they do.
also has a relative who is developmentally disabled.
Advocates for the developmentally disabled say they have trouble finding and keeping people to do the difficult work of caretakers when the jobs don't pay much more than the minimum wage.
O'Malley's bill would raise the minimum wage for all workers to $10.10 an hour.
is seeking even higher pay for thousands of state-paid workers at community-based providers.
"We've got vacancies, a high turnover rate, and they're dealing with a very, very vulnerable population," Middleton
said at a committee work session on the minimum wage.
has been in talks with administration officials on pay for disability workers and hopes to reach an agreement soon.
would not bring the minimum-wage legislation to a committee vote until his
concerns are addressed about state reimbursements for those who tend to the daily needs of the developmentally disabled.
also pointed out what he
called a "fairness issue.
said employees at the state's two residential facilities â€" the Potomac Center
in Hagerstown and the Holly Center
in Salisbury â€" are paid substantially more than caregivers working for community-based providers.
Employees at the residential facilities are on the state payroll, not paid through Medicaid.
said he'd compromise by setting a "floor" on disability workers' pay so that they would earn 35 percent more than the minimum wage.
acknowledged it would be "significant."
Senator Middleton, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, is one of the few farmers in the Maryland General Assembly.
He has been a strong supporter of the chicken industry and agriculture in general since joining the Senate in 1995.
was recognized, in part, because of his
outreach to the chicken industry on General Assembly issues.
district does not include Delmarva's
chicken industry, he
understands its importance to farmers in his
area and to all citizens of Maryland.
As chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Commission in 2010, he sought DPI's input on federal Chesapeake Bay legislation.
in this year's Agricultural Certainty bill in the General Assembly, a bill to help speed water quality improvement in the Chesapeake Bay while offering incentives for farmers to go beyond the minimum on environmental stewardship.
included the chicken industry in last year's legislation to provide estate tax relief for heirs of farmland.
accomplishments for agriculture, he
successfully sponsored bills to:
Additionally, Senator Middleton
has brokered numerous legislative compromises to make bills that were destined to pass more palatable to agriculture, a large factor in selecting him for this DPI recognition.
In being presented his
noted that "if we had more like him in the Maryland General Assembly, all our lives would be easier."