Our View of the Legislature: Disability Services

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The General Assembly is now in its final week of the regular 2022 session. Committee work on all of the bills we are following has been completed. The remaining work this week will be moving bills through the final procedural stages and completing the budget.

Bills that have been approved by both the Senate and the House will next go to the Governor for review. If the Senate and House approve different versions of a bill, sometime those differences are resolved in a Committee of Conference.

Here is the status of three bills that address how state agencies and local governments support people with disabilities.

HB 595 (Krizek) would have created a Special Assistant to the Governor, for Disability Services. The bill failed to report out of committee because it had a cost, but it came before the committee too late to be included in deliberations of House Appropriations. The patron complained that the timing of the committee hearing was out of his control; then the House included funding for the position in its budget. So, although the legislation itself is dead, there is still a possibility that the position will be created in the state budget.

HB 710 (Keam) requires local governments to give preference in hiring for people with disabilities. This bill was requested by the National Federation for the Blind. The bill was approved by the House of Delegates and by the Senate and now goes to the Governor to review.

HB 1203 (Tata) directs the Department of Veterans Affairs to create a Mental Health Coordinator. The bill was approved by the full House of Delegates, unanimously, and by the Senate Committee on General Laws. Because the bill has a financial impact, its fate will be decided in the budget.

dLCV’s 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 policy makers about the potential impact of legislative proposals and budgetary considerations. 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.