ACTION ALERT! VDDHH Legislative Update, Va Assn for the Deaf Statement

February 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

NVRC Note: To get contact information for your legislator, go to http://conview.state.va.us/whosmy.nsf/main?openform

VDDHH Legislative Update for 2/14/12

UPDATES ARE IN BOLD ITALICS

Status Update on Governor’s Reorganization Plan (including creation of new agency incorporating VDDHH, DRS, Aging and Adult Protective Services): HJ49, SJ 66, HB1291 and SB678

HOUSE BILL 1291(HB1291) (http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?ses=121&typ=bil&val=hb1291 As previously reported, HB1291 contains all of the changes that the Governor is proposing in his reorganization plan. This includes the proposal to create a new agency including the services currently offered by VDDHH, DRS, Aging and Adult Protective Services. On 2/13/12, HB1291 was amended on the House Floor on the second reading to add the Department of the Blind and Vision Impaired to the new agency. The amended bill will be on its third reading in the House today. If it passes the House, it will go to the Senate.

HJ 49 Governor’s Executive Reorganization Plan. (http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?ses=121&typ=bil&val=hj49) –The Senate General Laws and Technology Committee amended HJ 49 to match SJ 66 (taking VDDHH out of the proposal for the new agency.) On 2/13/12, the House rejected the Senate amendments to HJ49.

SJ 66 Governor’s Executive Reorganization Plan. http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?ses=121&typ=bil&val=sj66 On 2/13/12, the House read this resolution for the first time and referred it to the Committee on General Laws.

Senate Bill 678 (SB678) has been introduced as the Reform Package in the Senate. In keeping with the action the Senate took on the preliminary resolution, the Senate version of the bill does NOT include VDDHH in the new agency. The Committee on General Laws and Technology (link above withHJ49) voted to report the bill (send it to the full Senate) on Monday 2/6/12. The Senate version of the bill still does not include VDDHH as part of the new agency.

Remember that the resolutions do NOT change the Code/law in Virginia. The bills (HB1291 and SB678) will change the law, if passed. And right now, the House Bill (HB1291) includes VDDHH in the new agency and the Senate Bill (SB678) does not include VDDHH in the new agency. If the House and the Senate do not pass the same version of the bill, there will be a conference committee of a few members from the House and a few from the Senate who will try to come to an agreement. That will happen much later in the session.

Updates on HB218/SB399 (Deaf Child’s Bill of Rights Bills)

SB 399 Deaf and hearing-impaired children; special education. (http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?ses=121&typ=bil&val=sb399) On 2/2/12, the Senate Committee on Education and Health (http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?121+com+S04) voted to continue/carry over this bill to the 2013 session. This means that the Senate will not consider the bill during the 2012 session. The bill will be back in the 2013 session with the same bill number and the committee might act on it at that time. The vote to continue/carry over this bill was 11 – 4.

HB 218 Deaf and hard-of-hearing children; special education. (http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?121+sum+HB218) On 1/23/12, the House Education Committee agreed to report the bill and referred it on to the House Appropriations Committee for consideration of fiscal impact. On 2/13/12, the House accepted the committee amendments and engrossed(passed) the bill. It will now go to the Senate.

Please note that all of the information provided in this report is available to you on the Legislative Information System (LIS). While I try to provide timely reports, you may access the LIS any time, day or night and get the same information, often before I have a chance to get it to you.

Leslie Hutcheson Prince

VDDHH Policy and Planning Manager

VAD statement:

Virginia Association of the Deaf strongly opposes House Bill 1291 merging all four departments, (1) Aging, (2) Deaf and Hard of Hearing, (3)Blind and Visually Impaired and (4) Rehabilitative Services as it is like an alphabet soup. The bill is causing more confusing to Virginians with disabilities that seek some vital services on the state level. This would overlap departments’ functions and duties. This bill seriously removes Virginians with disabilities’ voices.

If those existing agencies are not broken, why must we fix them? In other words, we are putting apples, oranges, lemons and grapefruits and mixing them to come up with a bitter taste.

Please tell your state senator by clicking below:

Who’s My Legislator? Click this as it helps to find your legislator in your home district (State Senator/Delegate). For this, click and go ahead no matter where you live by telling your delegate and state senator that you are in opposition of HB 1291. For the separate HB 218 Deaf Child’s Bill of Rights, VAD supports it.

http://conview.state.va.us/whosmy.nsf/main?openform

Gary

Chair VAD Legislation