January 20, 2016 – Legislative Update

2016 Virginia General Assembly

January 20, 2016

The 2016 session of the Virginia General Assembly is only one week old at this point.  Members continue to file new bills, and we are working to stay on top of as many of the bills as we can.  We are watching an increasing list of bills that may impact Virginians with mental illness, including

HB 96 (Lingamfelter) creates “problem solving” courts, which may include mental health courts

HB 255 (Greason) requires insurance to cover costs of applied behavioral analysis

HB 297 (Austin) changes the definition of an assisted living facility to be more than seven beds.  A facility with six beds or fewer would not be covered by the ALF regulation oversight not would the individuals involved be eligible for auxiliary grants.

HB 523 (LeMunyon) requires a mental health provider to contact a designated person at a college, to the extent permitted by federal law, when one of their students has been involuntarily committed for mental health treatment.

HB 606 (Bell) eliminate the ability of an individual to accept voluntary treatment if he meets the criteria for a TDO.  The bill requires that a person who has been found to meet commitment standards will lose their right to possess a firearm, regardless of whether they agree to treatment or not.  The bill states that if a person volunteers for treatment, the TDO will no longer be deemed to have expired.

HB 616 (Bell) requires that, prior to discharge from treatment, an individual must be advised of the availability of a mental health advanced directive.

HB 794 (Leftwich) creates an exclusion from the death penalty for any person who was seriously mentally ill at the time of commission of the crime.

HB 811 (Bell) , HB 1110 (Bell) and HB 1112 (Bell) require that, in a commitment proceeding, a magistrate must consider the recommendations from family members and that the community services board that provides the assessment must notify the family if the assessment concludes that the individual does not meet commitment standards.

HB 1057 (Bell) deals with specialty court dockets, but leaves it to the Supreme Court to develop the details.

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.

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.