March 11, 2014 Legislative Update

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The mission of the disAbility Law Center of Virginia is, through zealous and effective advocacy and legal representation, to protect and advance legal, human, and civil rights of persons with disabilities; combat and prevent abuse, neglect, and discrimination; and promote independence, choice, and self-determination by persons with disabilities.

The 2014 legislative session ended on Saturday, March 8, 2014.

Much of the focus of mental health bills this year concerned the process of accessing services through emergency custody orders and temporary detention orders.  An important piece of legislation that should improve the response to people who are in mental health crisis has gone somewhat unnoticed in this session.  Sponsored by Delegate Vivian Watts, HB 1222, seeks better training and resources for first responders throughout the Commonwealth. The bill requires the Commonwealth to develop and disseminate information about specialized training to prevent and minimize mental health crises in all jurisdictions. The information must cover crisis intervention team training for law-enforcement personnel and mental health first aid training for other first responders, hospital emergency department personnel and school personnel.

The legislation was approved by both houses and is now on its way to the Governor for review.