Our View of the Legislature – Mental Health

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The disAbility Law Center of Virginia is following and speaking to bills in the legislature concerning the rights of people with behavioral health concerns. We have written about issues of involuntary commitment and the right to be discharged in separate highlights on this site. Here are some more general mental health bills that we are following:

  • HB 50 (Jones) directs Central State Hospital to designate additional beds as forensic and psychiatric beds, prioritized for use by patients from the Central Virginia Region. It was approved in the Behavioral Health Subcommittee on a 5-3 vote and has been sent to the Committee on Appropriations.
  • HB 81 (Simon) removes the common law crime of suicide from the Virginia code.  Advocates have been encouraging this measure for many years. It has passed the House body on a vote of 62-37 and awaits assignment to the Senate.
  • HB 224 (Henson) requires each school board in Virginia to adopt and implement policies that require schools to provide an age-appropriate program of instruction on suicide prevention and awareness and that each teacher and other relevant full-time personnel complete a mental health awareness training at least once. The bill was approved by the House on a vote of 62-36 and now has been referred to the Senate Committee on Education and Health.
  • SB 178 (Favola) directs the Office of the State Inspector General to develop a plan to fulfill its statutory obligation to fully investigate complaints it receives alleging abuse, neglect, or inadequate care at a state psychiatric hospital. It has been rereferred to the Senate Committee on Education and Health.

dLCV works 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. We are available to educate policymakers about the potential impact of legislative proposals. Please contact us at ga@dlcv.org or info@dlcv.org or by calling 1-800-552-3962 or 1-804-225-2042 if there is something you think we should be following.