February 3, 2016 – Legislative Update

2016 Virginia General Assembly
February 3, 2016

Legislation relating to mental health services will be considered by both the House and the Senate this week and next.  On Friday afternoon, we expect the House Courts of Justice Mental Health Subcommittee to meet, although that meeting is not yet listed on the official calendar.  We expect the Senate Courts of Justice Committee to hear some proposals, perhaps as early as this afternoon, although those bills may be postponed until next week.

Mental Health Bills of Concern

HB 606 (Bell)    Removes the option for voluntary admission prior to the issuance of a TDO and, as a result, only allows voluntary admission to occur after a TDO is issued.  The proposal would expand the number of individuals who are ineligible to possess a firearm.   makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor for certain individuals, including anyone who has been ordered into involuntary inpatient or outpatient treatment or has agreed to voluntary admission after being the subject of a TDO pursuant to § 37.2-809, to possess, purchase, or transport a firearm.

HB 811 (Bell), HB 1110 (Bell) and HB 1112 (Bell) all create an obligation to involve or inform an individual’s family or personal representative in various phases of a commitment proceeding.

SB 567 (Barker) is identical to HB 1110 currently.

SB 568 (Barker) is identical to HB 1112 currently.

Mental Health – administrative housekeeping

There are several bills before the two Courts of Justice committees (House and Senate)  that are, essentially,  housekeeping, administrative or minor adjustments to current procedures:

HB 364 (Loupassi) increases the amount to be paid to court appointed attorneys.

HB 523 (LeMunyon) stresses that information may be shared between colleges and treating professionals only to the extent allowed by law.

HB 616 (Bell) requires that a person be advised of their right to create an advanced directive prior to discharge from a treatment facility.

HB 785 (Adams) excuses very small law enforcement agencies (two persons or one person agencies) from responsibilities under a temporary detention order.

SB 566 (Barker) clarifies that for the purposes of petitioning for the involuntary psychiatric treatment of an inmate in a local correctional facility, the petition shall be filed by the sheriff or other officer in charge of the local correctional facility where the inmate is incarcerated.

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The disAbility Law Center of Virginia will be monitoring 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.

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.