ASCV's Legislative Priorities: 2021 General Assembly

2021 Legislative Session:
The ASCV team has been actively engaged in this year’s General Assembly, dedicated to educating legislators on issues related to our local autism community and arming our families with resources to effectively advocate.

The below outlines:

  • ASCV’s 2021 legislative & funding priorities
  • The status of legislation and funding (last updated 2/22/21)
  • Tips for Successfully Advocating
  • A Recap of our recent legislative update program

Please reach out to us at [email protected] at anytime for additional information.

ASCV’s 2021 Funding Priorities:

Fund the Priority 1 Waiver Waiting List:
Currently, 3,193 individuals on the DD Waiver waiting list are identified by DBHDS as having Priority Level One needs.

  • Add 425 DD Waiver SlotsItem 313 #29h (Delegate Sickles)
    Update as of 2/22: House proposal does not included new DD Waiver Slots
  • Fully Fund Priority 1 by Adding 2,109 Waiver Slots – Item 313 #6s (Senator Barker)
    Update as of 2/22: Senate proposal includes 650 new DD Waiver Slots

Review Current Medicaid DD Waiver Provider Rates and Rate Methodologies: Item 313 #12h (Delegate Sickles), Item 320 #1s (Senator Hanger)

Increase Medicaid Waiver Service Rates for Supported Living: Item 313 #8s (Senator Barker)
Supported Living was created to provide up to 24 hours per day of support in a person’s home. The rate is currently 30% less than the Group Home rate that also provides up to 24 hours of support.
Update as of 2/22: Neither Senate nor House proposals include funding

Continue Telehealth and Virtual Supports for DD Waiver recipients:

Allow Personal Care Services for Hospitalized Medicaid Waiver Recipients: Item 313 #15h (Delegate Tran)

2021 Legislative Priorities:

  • Children’s Services Act (CSA) Funding for Special Education Programs: Legislation that adopts recommendations made by JLARC after review of CSA funding
    SB 1313 – Passed Senate > Passed House
    HB 2117 – Passed House > Passed Senate
  • Virtual Supports & Assistive Technology: Forms a workgroup to address changes needed to ensure accessible services for all and offer recommendations for removing barriers and increasing access to technology and support through virtual means
    HB2197 – Passed House > Passed Senate; SB1472 – Passed Senate > Passed House
  • Criminal Justice Reform: Recognition and consideration of a diagnosis of Intellectual or Developmental Disability throughout the entire criminal justice process (outset of proceedings, during bail, and in presentence investigations); also ensures training for public defenders.
    SB1315Passed Senate, covering both IDD & MH > Currently being debated in the House
    HB2047 – Passed House, covering only IDD > Currently being debated in the Senate
  • Designated Support Person for Individuals with Disabilities in Medical Care Facilities: Requires hospitals to allow a person with a disability who requires assistance to be accompanied by a designated support person at any time during which health care services are provided.
    Passed House > Passed Senate Committee
  • Virginia Missing Person with Autism Alert Program: Expands the Virginia Missing Child with Autism Alert Program to apply to any missing person with autism, regardless of age.
    HB2216 – Passed House > Passed Senate
  • Virginia Human Rights Act: Adds discrimination on the basis of disability as an unlawful employment practice.
    HB1848 – Passed House > Passed Senate

How You Can Join Us – Tips to Successfully Advocate:

1. Visit Virginia’s Legislative Information System (LIS) to search for each of our legislative priorities by bill number.  Familiarize yourself with the details and status of each and track those important to you.

2. Visit Who’s My Legislator and enter your address to find your Delegate and Senator.

3. Reach out to your Delegate and Senator via phone or email to share your family’s story and the needs related to improving the life of your loved one with autism. Share our Legislative Priorities and specific bills for their support, including WHY specific issues are so important to you. Before you reach out, be sure to note if your legislator is already a Patron of the bill so you can either thank them or ask for their support.

Virginia Autism Society of America Affiliates’ Legislative Update – Program Recap:

“Your story matters. Elected officials are bombarded with graphs, data, and charts, however, what really resonates with them, that makes them feel is a personal story. Your personal story. You do not need fancy words. Communicate your story your way.”
– Conner Cummings, Self-Advocate
On Monday, February 1st, the three ASA Virginia Affiliates – Autism Society Central Virginia, Autism Society of Northern Virginia, and Tidewater Autism Society of America – came together to co-host an informative and empowering legislative update. We were joined by a lineup of passionate, knowledgeable advocates, who shared personal stories, resources, and tips for effectively advocating. Our presenters provided thorough overviews of the VA General Assembly, as well as details and updates on current items in legislation, both locally and federally. If you missed the program, the recording is available here:
We are truly grateful to all of our speakers and their organizations for keeping us informed and reminding us how important it is to share our stories to advocate for legislation that is vital to our local autism community!

Helpful Links:

Virginia House of Delegates Listing – Search for members, filter by committee, build your own list, and more

Senate of Virginia Member Listing – View members & contact information

Legislative Committees – To reach out to members of specific committees

ASCV’s Approach to Advocacy:

The ASCV team is dedicated to sharing information with our families and educating policy makers on current priorities that impact our local autism community. The ASCV is proud to represent a very diverse community of individuals across the entire autism spectrum and their families. We strive to empower individuals with autism and their families to advocate for the best possible services and support structures for themselves and/or their loved ones.  Our team is committed to our ASCV Options Policy, and we believe that successful programs and services vary depending on individuals’ level of support needs.

We believe that effectively advocating at local, state, and national levels is imperative to improving services and strengthening protections. This requires unifying the voice of the autism community and integrating legislation priorities across federal, state, and local levels in a coordinated manner.  Thank you for joining our efforts!