The disAbility Law Center of Virginia is available to educate policymakers about the implications of the decisions before them. Please continue to check back here for updates as the session proceeds, and let us know of any legislative proposals or budget issues that you think we should be following. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1-800-552-3962 or 804-225-2042.
There is one bill in the legislature relating to housing discrimination for people with disabilities. HB 1971 (Carr) has been approved by both the House and the Senate. The legislation corrects an erroneous decision made by the Virginia Supreme Court in 2014.
In Commonwealth of Virginia v Windsor Plaza Condominiums, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled that a request to create an accessible parking space was a “reasonable modification” rather than a “reasonable accommodation,” under the Virginia Fair Housing Act. The difference is significant, as the person with a disability must pay for a modification, whereas the property owner is responsible for a reasonable accommodation. Virginia’s decision put state law at odds with federal fair housing law and put the state at risk of losing federal housing funds. Delegate Carr’s HB 1971 resolves the inconsistencies between state law and federal law. The bill now heads to the Governor, who is expected to sign it.
In a resolution relating to housing for people with disabilities, SJ 293 directs the Joint Commission on Health Care to study the auxiliary grant program and specifically to address the housing needs of Virginians with disabilities wishing to have home and community-based services and supports. The resolution was approved by the Senate and will be heard in the House Committee on Rules.
It is the mission of the disAbility Law Center of Virginia 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.