January 31, 2014 Legislative Highlights

Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services heard a bill this morning intended to affect the planned closure of the state’s institutions for people with developmental disabilities.  Senator Newman introduced two bills, SB 627 and SB 136.  Both require that the state certify that the quality of services in the community must be equal to or better than the services in the training centers.  Both bills have large fiscal impact statements (not yet on the legislative services website).  The Senate committee approved an amended version of SB 627 and referred it Finance.  SB 136, a less involved version of the same concept, was stricken.

The intended training center closures are a part of an overall plan to improve community services for people with disabilities and to invest greater and greater resources into the community rather than in institutional settings.  The plan was developed in response to an investigation, lawsuit and settlement agreement between the Commonwealth and the U.S. Department of Justice.  For more information, go to our web page on the case. 

Senator Newman serves the senate district that includes Central Virginia Training Center, where the Department of Justice found unconstitutional conditions of confinement in 2011.

The disAbility Law Center of Virginia promotes and protects the rights of all Virginians with disabilities.  The dLCV is a private nonprofit organization. We 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.