March 2, 2018 – Legislative Highlights

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2018 Virginia General Assembly
Legislative Highlights
March 2, 2018

Much of the committee work on bills has been completed, as the legislature intends to adjourn on Saturday, March 10th.  Here is what appears to be the near-final status of some of the bills relating to adults and children with autism.

These bills are still in process:

HB 505 (Bell, Robert) would allow a person with a disability, including specifically someone with autism, to request that the Department of Transportation post traffic signs indicating that a person with a disability may be present.  Approved by the House and by the Senate committee on Transportation.  It must now be considered by the full Senate on two different days for passage.

SB 593 (Vogel) is the Senate companion to the House Bills 1113, 1311, and 1369, noted below as having been defeated.  It would require insurance coverage for persons with autism of any age.  Current law requires coverage until age 10.  The bill was later amended in Senate Finance to require coverage only until age 18, and amended to state that the bill would not be effective unless there is funding in the budget to cover the fiscal impact on state employee insurance coverage.  The amended bill was approved by the full Senate and is now before the House committee on Appropriations.  It is likely to be resolved in budget negotiations.

SB 234 (Hanger) extends the operation of the Autism Advisory Council beyond its sunset date of July 1, 2018 until July 1, 2020.  This bill was approved by the full Senate and by the House Committee on Rules.  It must now be considered on two different days in the House.

HR 38 (Miyares) commends the Virginia Autism Project for its compassionate work to support families of children with autism.  The Virginia Autism Project is based in Virginia Beach.  The resolution has been adopted by the full House of Delegates; as a House resolution, no further work is needed on it.

And these bills relating to people with autism have already been defeated:

SB 337 (Stuart) would have created an Autism Commission within state government to evaluate services for people with autism and make recommendations for future services.  This bill was rolled into SB 234, above, by the Senate Committee on Rules, without specifying any additional duties or responsibilities for the Autism Advisory Council.


HB 1113 (Roem), HB 1311 (Collins), and HB 1369 (Plum) would have required insurance to offer coverage for persons with autism of any age.  Current law requires coverage until age 10.  Both bills were defeated in a House subcommittee on Commerce and Law.

HB 174 (Filler-Corn) would have required the Department of Criminal Justice Services to develop protocols for communicating with people with autism or with intellectual disabilities.  The Department maintained that it was already in the process of developing such protocols.  The bill was defeated in a subcommittee of House Militia, Police and Public Safety.

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.