January 15, 2014 Legislative Highlights original

There are a wide variety of legislative proposals that may impact housing rights and the ability of people with disabilities to live fully integrated lives.

The legislature is considering bills that would increase the amount available in the state budget to promote the building of new housing that is wheel chair accessible.  There are tax credits currently available; the proposals simply increase the amount available for those tax credits.  See e.g. HB 295 (Villanueva), SB 57 (Marsden).

HB 524 (Pogge) would increase change the state’s uniform building code to require that 10% of all new multi-family development must be built to be accessible to people with disabilities.  Currently, the code requires that 2% must be accessible.

There are at least two bills would affect the development of group homes for people with disabilities.    HB 527 (Pogge) would eliminate a requirement that the homes have full time staffing, bringing Virginia law closer in line with federal law.  SB 340 (Puller) would require public notice and a hearing before a group home could open and would require smoke detectors and fire suppression in all such homes, taking Virginia law out of compliance with federal law (by creating requirements for people with disabilities that do not exist for other homes).  Advocates are working with this patron to address concerns about the bill.

If you know of proposed legislation, a budget proposal or other issue that you think we should know about, please let us know.  Contact us at info@dLCV.org or at 1-800-552-3962.   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.