Our View of the Legislature: Special Education

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Committees of the 2023 legislature have started their work reviewing bills. The committees have roughly three weeks to consider everything in time for “crossover,” the point at which the bills must be ready to move to the other side of the legislative body. This morning, the Chair of Senate Education and Health underscored the huge number of bills that have been assigned to her committee and warned the public that it is possible they will not be able to address them all.

Senate Education and Health this morning quickly approved a measure that was recommended by the Commission on Youth, that would require all school districts to publicly post the name and contact information of the special education coordinators. SB  943 (Suetterlein) now moves to the full Senate for consideration – it must be heard on three separate days in the full Senate to complete the process before crossover. HB 1554 (Brewer) is the House equivalent to the bill; it will be heard on the House Education committee.

Some of the other bills concerning special education rights that we are tracking include:

HB 1492 (Davis) changes the deadlines by which a school must complete an evaluation and develop an IEP after referral. The bill will be heard by the House Committee on Education

SB 890 (Favola) and HB 1659 (Bell) ask the Department of Behavioral Health to develop best practice standards relating to the transfer of records of students with disabilities who reach the age of majority.

HB 1884 (Wampler) would allow students with disabilities to take the Standards of Learning assessments less often than general education students. It will be heard in the House Committee on Education.

HB 1983 (Kory) requires the development of best practice standards relating to positive behavioral supports.

The disAbility Law Center of Virginia will follow the education bills and other bills concerning the rights of people with disabilities throughout the session. Our mission 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. We are available to educate policymakers about the potential impact of legislative proposals. Please let us know of any issues that you think we should be following. Contact us at ga@dlcv.org or info@dlcv.org or by calling 1-800-552-3962 or 804-225-2042.