January 9, 2014 Legislative Highlights

The session began yesterday and already it is busy!  Committees are meeting to consider bills assigned to them – you can find the schedule of committee meetings and other useful information about the session at http://leg1.state.va.us.

The disAbility Law Center of Virginia may educate policymakers about the impact of proposed legislation.

There are a number of bills being offered this year that may impact the ability of persons with disabilities to vote. The bills will be considered by the committees on Privileges and Elections in both the House and the Senate:

HB 75 (Simon), HB 119 (Dance), and SB 3 (Howell) would allow for absentee voting without excuse.

HB 37 (Kory), SB 16 (Miller), SB 129 (Favola), SB 140 (Barker), and SB 182 (McWaters) would allow a person 65 or older to vote absentee without excuse.

HB 7 (Habeeb) — will address restoring voting rights for convicted felons, also see:

HJ 21 (Dance) HJ 25 (Farrell)  – Proposing a constitutional amendment to allow for the restoration of voting rights for persons convicted of nonviolent felonies after having served their sentence.

HB 83 (Krupika) – clarifies that an unexpired driver’s license is valid identification for voting.

HB 343 (Taylor) – creates the ability to vote by provisional ballot for someone who is hospitalized at the time of registering for absentee ballot.

Additionally, there are proposal relating to the future of Virginia’s training centers that may impact the settlement agreement reached with the U.S. Department of Justice.  These include:

HB 592 (O’Quinn) – prevents the closure of training centers.

SB 136 (Newman) – Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Resources to certify that individual community services are equal to or better than training center care before any individual is transferred.