February 14, 2019 – Legislative Highlights

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2019 Virginia General Assembly
Legislative Highlights
February 14, 2019

The work of legislative committees is now wrapping up.  Although “sine die,” the end of the session, is scheduled for February 23, most committees expect to conclude their work this week.

Here’s the latest on proposed bills that would impact the rights of people with disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act and under general employment laws:

SB 1302 (Barker) and HB 2296 (Leftwich) seek to prevent people with disabilities from filing a lawsuit under the ADA when a credit union’s website is inaccessible to people with vision impairments.  As amended, the bills created a 120 day delay after a lawsuit is filed, to give the credit unions additional time to make their websites accessible. The Senate bill was defeated in the Senate Courts of Justice, but the House bill was approved by the House. The House bill was heard in Senate Courts of Justice on Wednesday, where the credit unions pulled out a surprise substitute.   With strenuous objections from the disability community, the Committee reduced the substitute to simply creating standards for website access.  In that form, it was approved by the Committee.

HB 1786 (Hurst) seeks to bring Virginia law into alignment with the ADA as it applies to “other power-driven mobility devices.”  The bill was approved by the House.  The Senate passed the bill with a technical amendment, so the bill returns to the House for approval of the amendment.  We expect the House to agree to the amendment.

HB 2094 (Guzman) would have created a hiring preference for people with disabilities in state government.  The bill was assigned to the House Committee on General Laws but was never heard, so it died as of crossover.

SB 998 (Ebbin) prohibits discrimination in hiring for a number of classes, including disability, in state employment.  It was approved by the Senate.  The House Committee on Rules referred the bill to the House Committee on General Laws. It is not yet on the agenda for any meeting of General Laws or a subcommittee of General Laws.

SB 1636 (Boysko) prohibits discrimination in hiring against people with disabilities in private employment.  The bill was “passed by indefinitely” in the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor.

The mission of the disAbility Law Center of Virginia 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.