Two of the bills we reported on earlier this week, concerning technology assistance for people with disabilities, have been defeated or converted in subcommittee this past week:
HB 1047 (Tran) establishes rights for students who need augmentative and alternative communication devices, and sets training, instruction and eligibility standards. The bill specifically prohibits the use of an IQ test to determine a student’s need for AAC at school. During a morning meeting, the bill was heavily debated in the Early Childhood subcommittee of the House Committee on Education, with strong opposition from schools. When the subcommittee reconvened, the patron requested that the bill be stricken, and the subcommittee complied.
HB 1246 (Tran) requires the Department of Education develop guidelines about accessible digital tools used in student instruction and requires all purchases after September 1, 2022 to comply with those guidelines. This is a bill that was requested by the National Federation of the Blind of Virginia. The bill was heavily debated in the Early Childhood subcommittee of the House Committee on Education, with strong opposition from schools. The subcommittee converted the bill into a “workgroup” to address the issues raised in the bill. The workgroup bill must still be approved by the full committee before proceeding.
Other bills and budget amendments remain active:
Medicaid funding for wheelchairs in nursing facilities – HB 241 (Adams) would add this coverage to the state Medicaid plan. Proposed budget amendments in the House from Delegate Adams (304#40h) and in the Senate from Senator Barker (Item 304#10s) would provide the funding for the coverage. The House legislation was approved by the House Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions, but was temporarily tabled in a House Appropriations subcommittee. The budget amendments have not yet been acted on.
SB 405 (Barker) requires health insurers to cover prosthetic devices. The bill was approved by the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor and refer red to the Committee on Finance.
The disAbility Law Center of Virginia’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 email@example.com or by calling 1-800-552-3962 or 804-225-2042.