Our View of the Legislature: Behavioral Health

Home / Legislative Highlights / 2023 Legislative Highlights / Our View of the Legislature: Behavioral Health

The deadline for legislators to submit bills is this Friday, January 20, 2023. New bills will continue to appear for several days after that as legislative services staff processes submissions. In particular, the Behavioral Health Commission has been working on several bills, and they may not all be filed yet so we will be keeping our eyes open for them.

Although bills for this session are still being filed, here are some of the bills we have seen so far that concern behavioral health:

Bills that impact the ECO/TDO (Emergency Custody/Temporary Detention) period:

  • HB 1792 (Ransone) would allow a person to be detained in an ER for 24 hours if, due to intoxication, they are unable to make an informed decision and the medical standard of care calls for observation, testing, or treatment. This bill is not yet assigned to a committee.
  • HB 1976 (Bell) allows the director of a facility of temporary detention to release an individual who no longer meets commitment criteria. This bill has not yet been assigned to a committee.
  • SB 872 (Newman) addresses alternative transportation for people who are subject to an ECO. This bill has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Education and Health.

Bills that look like MOT (mandatory outpatient treatment):

  • SB 1174 (Mason) addresses diverting a defendant of certain crimes to court-ordered treatment. This bill is assigned to the Senate Committee on Education and Health.

Bills that address what happens if an individual commits assault while in a mental health crisis:

  • HB 1561 (Watts) states that if a person is experiencing a mental health emergency and they assault a law enforcement officer responding to the call, they will not be subject to arrest or prosecution for the assault. This bill has been assigned to a House Courts of Justice.
  • HB 1835 (Bell) expands the situation where a person making an oral threat to a healthcare provider who is rendering emergency care during an ECO or TDO or involuntary hospitalization order will be not subject to a Class 1 misdemeanor. This bill is assigned to the House Committee for the Courts of Justice.

Additional bills of interest:

  • HB 2182 (Robinson) creates an Advisory Committee to the Behavioral Health Commission made up of individuals who are currently or have in the past received behavioral health services. This bill has been assigned to the Committee on Rules.

The disAbility Law Center of Virginia will follow bills concerning the rights of people with behavioral health concerns throughout the session. Our mission is to advance independence, choice, and self-determination; protect legal, human and civil rights; and eliminate abuse, neglect and discrimination of people with disabilities through zealous and uncompromising legal advocacy and representation. We are available to educate policymakers about the potential impact of legislative proposals. Please let us know of any issues that you think we should be following. Contact us at ga@dlcv.org or info@dlcv.org or by calling 1-800-552-3962 or 804-225-2042.