Our View of the Legislature: Guardianship

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This year, the legislature continues to respond to suggestions to improve our guardianship laws, drawing from the 2021 study by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission concerning Virginia’s Guardianship and Conservatorship laws. The JLARC report can be found by clicking here.

  • HB 2027 (Roem) deals with the perennial problem of a guardian restricting someone’s ability to have visitors. In its current form, the Bill establishes the process by which a guardian may restrict visitors, encourages the guardian to take the person’s preferences into account, and limits a guardian’s ability to restrict an incapacitated person’s ability to communicate with, visit, or interact with other persons with whom the incapacitated person has an established relationship. The bill passed the House and is now in the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.
  • HB 2437 (Roem) and SB 1140 (McPike) set training requirements for Guardians. The House bill was tabled in the Committee on Appropriations, but the Senate bill passed the Senate and is now in the House Committee on Courts of Justice.
  • HB 2028 (Roem) establishes the minimum number of visits by a guardian. The original bill – never very demanding to begin will – was amended to have even lower expectations of a guardian. As amended, the bill only requires three visits a year by a guardian and only one of those in person. The bill was approved by the House and will now be heard in the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

Some bills in this session deal with the information available to Guardians Ad Litem, who are appointed by the Court to discern the best interests of the person who is the subject of the petition. These bills include SB 1144 and SB 1033, both from Senator McPike, and HB 2383 from Delegate Hope.

  • HB 1860 (Bell) sets slightly stricter requirements on the quality of a medical report in a petition for guardship. The bill arose out of a situation where a person was placed under guardianship based on a single telehealth visit. The House and the Senate Committee on Judiciary approved the bill.
  • SB 987 (Mason) creates a duty for guardians to make regular reports to the court. The bill passed the Senate and is now in the committee on House Courts of Justice.

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. The disAbility Law Center of Virginia is available to educate policymakers 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 ga@dlcv.org or info@dlcv.org or by calling 1-800-552-3962 or 804-225-2042.