The disAbility Law Center of Virginia is a private nonprofit organization, dedicated to advancing the rights of people with disabilities in Virginia. The dLCV may educate policymakers about the impact of proposed legislation. We urge you to let us know if there is an important issue or proposal that you think we should know about. Contact us at info@dLCV.org or at 1-800-552-3962.
The Senate Finance subcommittee on Health and Human Resources heard several presentations on “behavioral health” on Monday afternoon. As noted yesterday, the legislature will be considering many bills and budget amendments relating to the Commonwealth’s mental health services system. In addition to the areas noted yesterday, there are other bills dealing with the process for involuntary commitment.
Currently, state law requires that a specific treating facility must be identified before issuance of a temporary detention order. Several bills suggest eliminating that requirement, subject to a “good faith” effort to keep looking for a facility. See e.g. HB 243 (Yost) , SB 200 (Howell).
There are proposals for the creation of a registry of available psychiatric beds. See eg HB 599 (Herring), SB 126 (Newman), SB 263 (Deeds). The Senate version of these bills may be considered in Senate Education and Health committee Thursday morning. We note, however, that the registry is already in development by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.
Many other bills, such as those dealing with the restoration of voting rights, will have an impact on people with disabilities as well as others in the Commonwealth.