February 21, 2017 – Legislative Highlights

2017 Virginia General Assembly
Legislative Highlights
February 21, 2017

The mission of the disAbility Law Center of Virginia is to advance independence, choice and self-determination; protect legal, human and civil rights; and eliminate abuse, neglect and discrimination of people with disabilities through zealous and uncompromising legal advocacy and representation.

The disAbility law Center of Virginia monitors activities 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.  We intend to follow bills that have been passed by the legislature until the Governor completes his review and makes decisions about them.  We will additionally track developments concerning the state budget that may impact our community.  Please let us know of any  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.

As the session nears completion, here is the status of some of the issues we have been following:

Incident reporting in the community

Two identical bills have passed that require the Commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services to provide to the disAbility Law Center of Virginia all reports of critical incidents in community providers licensed by the Department.    The House and Senate both approved HB 1508 (Hope) on February 20, 2017 and SB 894 (Favola) on February 15, 2017.  This will bring community providers on the same level with state operated institutions.

Blind Parents

Two bills that would have protected the rights of parents who are blind or vision impaired have both been defeated in the Virginia General Assembly.  SB 1199 (Favola) was approved by the Senate but was defeated in a subcommittee of the Committee on Courts of Justice.  That subcommittee chair did suggest the need to convene a workgroup to try to resolve the issues prior to the next legislative session.  The House equivalent of the bill, HB 2273 (LaRock), was tabled in subcommittee earlier in the session.

Budget issues:  Personal Care attendants

The Governor included funding in the proposed budget that would allow for overtime payments for some personal care attendants for people with disabilities under the Consumer Directed Waiver.   Both the Senate and the House proposals have removed that funding.