February 16, 2016 – Legislative Update

2016 Virginia General Assembly
February 16, 2016

Today is “crossover.”  All the bills that began in one house must be complete in that house by the end of the day today.  If a bill is not approved by its house of origin by the end of the session today, it is dead.  The exception is for budget-related bills, which are dependent on being included in recommendations by the House Appropriations and the Senate Finance committees for amendments to the Governor’s proposed budget.  These amendments will be announced on Sunday, February 21st.

Juvenile Justice

SB 215 (Favola) requires the development of regulations that will restrict the use of room seclusion in juvenile detention facilities.  It was approved by the full Senate and now goes to the House Committee on Courts of Justice, where we expect a rough review.

Mental Health

HB 675 (Peace) would allow the use of Auxiliary Grants in Supportive Housing.  On Friday, House Appropriations amended it to say that the grants will be available for supportive housing only when someone has lived in an ALF for a year.  The House approved it as amended.

HB 811 (Bell) requiring that notice of a commitment hearing be given to a family member was passed by the full House today.   The amended bill narrows the group who must be given notice to an immediate family member who is involved in the care of the person subject to hearing.  The Senate equivalent, SB 568 (Barker) appears to be dead.

HB 1110 (Bell)  and SB 567 (Barker) require that when an elevator in a TDO process concludes that the individual does not meet commitment criteria, a magistrate must still hear and consider information from the person who asked for the emergency custody order.  Both bills limit the right to be heard to only those persons present.  The proposals do not allow the additional testimony to be a reason to extend the period of emergency custody.   Both bills were approved by their respective houses today.

Training centers

SB 683 (Miller) – prohibits the Department of Behavioral Health and the Community Services Board from communicating with any family member, except in writing, about transition planning if the family member has sent a letter saying that they want no further communication.  Communication is permitted if it is within six months of the closure of the training center.  The bill has passed the Senate and has been assigned to the House Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions

Visitation during guardianship

HB 342 (Pogge) establishes a duty for a guardian to allow visitors without limitation.  It passed the House today.

SB 466 (Wagner) establishes a right to visitors for persons under guardianship.  It passed the Senate and has been assigned to the House Committee on Courts of Justice.

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The mission of the disAbility Law Center of Virginia is to protect and advance the legal, human and civil rights of people with disabilities, to combat and prevent abuse, neglect and discrimination, and to promote independence, choice and self-determination by persons with disabilities.

The disAbility Law Center of Virginia monitors bills in the legislature that may be of interest to people with disabilities.  We are available to educate policy makers about the potential impact of legislative proposals.  Please let us know of any legislative proposals or budget issues that you think we should be following.  Contact us at info@dlcv.org or by calling 1-800-552-3962 or 804-225-2042.