2011 General Assembly: Week 6

There is one week left for the 2011 General Assembly session.  Around 400 Senate and House Bills have passed both chambers and have been sent to Governor McDonnell’s desk for his approval. Governor McDonnell has already approved two bills and has reportedly made amendments to several other bills.

Late last week, the Department of Justice issued a report regarding Virginia’s services for people with intellectual disabilities (ID) and developmental disabilities (DD) who are in institutions or at imminent risk of institutionalization. The report essentially requires Virginia to develop a plan to move those who are in institutions to community-based care in order to comply with federal laws.  The report also calls for Virginia to strengthen its commitment to eliminate the waiting lists for community-based services.

Virginia currently has 3,123 people who are on the “urgent” waiting list for community-based care. In this year’s House budget, we have added 375 ID waivers and 270 DD waivers while the State Senate’s budget only added 175 ID waivers and 100 DD waivers.  Even though we have made some progress, we still are a long way away from the goal of eliminating the waiting list.

At the request of Governor McDonnell, Delegate Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) introduced HB 2533, a bill that sets up a fund to begin the process of increasing the availability of community-based services for those with intellectual or developmental disabilities. While the fund will require an initial investment of around $30 million, additional funds will come from the savings captured when we begin to phase out of the state’s training centers. I am a co-patron of this bill.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Dave Albo

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