Our View of the Legislature: Developmental Disabilities

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Here is the status of the remaining bills that we have been tracking that may be of interest to people with developmental disabilities and their friends and allies.  If you know of something you think we missed, you can contact us at info@dlcv.org or by calling 1-800-552-3962 or 804-225-2042.

SB 482 (Favola) creates the Developmental Disabilities Mortality Review Team to review deaths in community providers licensed by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.  Approved by the Senate and by the House this afternoon.  It has not yet been sent to the Governor for approval, but it is an administration bill, so we expect approval.

HB 659 (Hope) requires the Department of Corrections to develop guidelines for inmates with developmental disabilities.  Approved by the House and by the Senate.  It has not yet been sent to the Governor for review, however, the Department of Corrections has stated that it can absorb the costs of the required study group in its regular budget, so we expect approval from the Governor.

HB 1503 (Ward) and SB 1031 (Barker) require insurance providers to cover treatment for autism, even in individual and small group markets.  HB 1503 has been approved by the House and by the Senate, with amendments, which resolved the differences in the two bills.  SB 1031 has been approved by the Senate and by the House.   A committee of conference is not going to be necessary.  Neither bill has been sent to the Governor for review yet.  The Northam Administration has suggested that the expansion needs further study, so the Governor’s approval is not at all certain.  Patrons of this bill described it as “completing the work we began several years ago” to ensure that people with autism have full coverage of necessary services through insurance.

HB 134 (Runion) and SB 186 (Dunnavant) both direct the Department of Education to develop guidelines for IEP teams to include age-appropriate sex education for children with disabilities.  Both bills have been approved by their chamber of origin.  HB 134 has been approved by the Senate, as well, and is on the Governor’s desk for review, with a deadline of March 2.  SB 186 has been approved by the House, and has been sent to the Governor, with a deadline for response of March 6.

Find a discussion of guardianship legislation on our February 20, 2020 highlight: https://www.dlcv.org/our-view-guardianship-2020-7

Find a discussion of earlier phases of special education legislation on our February 10, 2020 highlight: https://www.dlcv.org/our-view-special-education-2020-4

We are charged with educating policymakers about the impact of their decisions on the lives of people with disabilities, including developmental and intellectual disabilities. 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.