January 6, 2015 Legislative Update

2015 Virginia General Assembly

The 2015 legislative session in Virginia begins at noon on January 14, 2015.  This is a “short” session, meaning that the legislature plans to be in session for 45 days, rather than the 60 days of the “long” session.

We expect to see legislation concerning the use of restraints in public schools as well as proposals to reform mental health services.  The Governor’s budget contains provisions that will impact people who receive services through Medicaid; we expect proposed amendments to some of those provisions.

The disAbility law Center of Virginia will be monitoring developments 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.

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.

Here are a few bills we know will be of interest to the disability community:

Children’s Mental Health

SB 779 (McWaters) lowers the standards for involuntary commitment of a minor over the age of 14 and extends the period of time an objecting minor can be held from 4 days to 5 days.

Seclusion and Restraint

HB 1443 (Richard Bell) requires the Department of Education to develop regulations concerning the use of seclusion and restraint in public schools

Voting Rights

HB 1327 (Filler-Corn) allows a person with a disability or someone over the age of 75 to go to the front of the line at a polling place between the hours of 9:30 and 4:30.