February 4, 2015 – Training Center Bills

The mission of the disAbility Law Center of Virginia is, through zealous and effective advocacy and legal representation, 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.

We continue to monitor developments in the Virginia General Assembly and are available to assist policymakers as they consider proposals that may have an impact on individuals with disabilities.

There are a number of bills concerning the operation of training centers.  The bills could affect the Commonwealth’s ability to comply with its agreement to improve conditions in the community for person with intellectual disabilities. 

HB  1365 (Campbell) would allow make it optional, rather than mandatory, for a local social service department to provide for the care of a former training center resident if the individual needed assistance.  The bill was before a subcommittee Tuesday morning and the subcommittee recommended tabling the bill.

HB 1614 (Campbell) would require that the state keep Southwestern Training Center open.  The bill was sent from the Committee on Health, Welfare and Institution to the House Committee on Appropriations. The Health and Human Resources subcommittee of Appropriations killed the bill.

SB 1300 (Newman) would require that the Commonwealth keep Northern Virginia Training Center open until December, 2016 and would require the state to develop a plan to keep three training centers open.  The bill was defeated in Finance, but the patron requested that the issue be addressed in budget proposals.

SB 1446 (Miller) would prohibit the development of a new discharge plan for 9 months after a plan has been developed for a resident of a training center.  After objections from the advocacy community, the patron reworked the bill to limit communications to writing only except for once every six months.  The subcommittee recommended reporting, but with a commitment to continue to work on the bill before it goes to full committee.

Most patrons expect that the ultimate decisions relating to the future of the training centers will be made in the proposed amendments to the Governor’s budget.  The House and the Senate money committees will release their proposed amendments to the Governor’s budget on Sunday, February 7th