2024 Virginia General Assembly Session

An Overview of 2024 Legislative Priorities & How You Can Effectively Advocate with Us

ASCV’s Approach to Advocacy: We are dedicated to educating policy makers on current priorities that impact our local autism community. We are proud to represent a very diverse community of individuals across the entire autism spectrum and their families, and 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.

The ASCV partners with several fellow advocacy organizations across Virginia, including The Arc of Virginia, Virginia Autism Project (VAP), Commonwealth Autism Services, Autism Societies of Northern Virginia & Tidewater, Charlottesville Region Autism Action Group (CRAAG), Autism Speaks, and many others. Our goal is to improve services and strengthen protections for autistic individuals.  We strive to unify the voice of the autism community and integrate legislation in a coordinated manner.

2024 Legislative Priorities:

Autism Society of Central Virginia 2024 Legislative Priorities:

  • SB 389 (Pekarsky) – Reestablishes the Autism Advisory Council, to be a voice for Virginia’s autism community and to advise the general assembly on the complex issues relevant to individuals with autism and their families
  • SB 676 (Ebbin); HB 908 (Shin) – Disregards Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) income when calculating an individual’s financial eligibility for a waiver.
  • SB 547 (Bagby); HB 1246 (Willett) – Establishes minimum training standards for law enforcement officers on engaging with individuals with autism.

Support Agenda

  • SB 610 (Suetterlein, Pekarsky); HB 577 (Runion) – Allows individuals struggling to find services to retain their waiver slot for up to one year due to the ongoing provider shortage.  Arc of VA Agenda Item
  • SB 488 (Aird & Sutterlein); HB 909 (Shin); HB 1282 (Wilt) – Protects families by amending regulations for Legally Responsible Individuals (LRIs) to be reasonable and appropriate for families that provide paid care for their minor children. Arc of VA Agenda Item
  • HB1089 (Coyner); SB220 (Favola)
    Companion House and Senate Bills that address special education services, define IEPs and specially designed instruction.
  • HB 441 (Bennett-Parker) – Ensures access to curbside voting for people with disabilities
  • HB 1040 (Bennett-Parker); SB 85 – (Favola)Allows remote participation in meetings by persons with disabilities and caregivers.
  • HB 177 (Gardner) – Directs DMAS to convene a work group to assess and make recommendations related to reimbursement rates for the federal Early Intervention Program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities.
  • SB21 (Salim); HB509 (Cohen) – Standardizes disability documentation requirements across public colleges and universities in Virginia by requiring them to accept a variety of documentation as proof of a disability, streamlining the process for students to qualify for accommodations.

We support several Budget Items:

  • Build Provider Capacity & Sustainability: Delegate Sickles and Senator Boysko have proposed $5.2 Million to fund a Community Collaborative for Inclusive Services Expansion. Specifically, this would fund a partnership between community disability organizations, including the ASCV, focused on building Capacity for the Inclusive Services created in response to the DOJ Settlement Agreement to Build a Robust Community System. Read more here. Item 297 #11h (Sickles); Item 296 #2s (Boysko)
  • Eliminate the Priority 1 Waiting List – Fund the 3,440 slots in the Governor’s introduced budget
  • 288#44s (VanValkenburg); 296#37h (Hope) – Provide an increase of 18% to Medicaid Waiver Provider rates to meet the ongoing economic pressures and ensure the recruitment and retention of a qualified workforce to serve individuals that receive waiver slots.
  • 288#35s, #42s (Ebbin, Suetterlein); 288#27h (Sickles) – Match the Supported Living waiver rate to the 4-person group home rate
  • 292#5s (Boysko); 292#1h (Sickles); 292#2h (Lopez) – Study options for implementing a set of core essential services to move our system from a reactive to a proactive system.
  • 288#25s (Jordan); 292#28h (Coyner) – Create Medicaid Works eligibility for DD waiver recipients to ensure that they can earn income without risking their waivers
  • 288#27s (Jordan); 288#26h (Sickles) – Increase Peer Mentor Rates

Autism Advocacy Day – Tuesday, January 30, 2024

All are invited to join us for this invaluable opportunity to visit our legislators and advocate for enhanced services and supports for autistic individuals across Virginia!

With 35% turnover in Virginia’s Legislature this year, many new legislators are unfamiliar with our autism community and our needs. This underscores the importance of this day for YOU to meet with your Senators & Delegates as their constituents and to share how legislation directly impacts YOU and your family.

We will partner with attendees to make appointments to visit with your legislators in small groups with experienced leaders from 9-11 AM. At noon, we will be introduced in the Senate & House chambers to highlight our advocacy efforts. All are invited to join us for lunch as an opportunity to network with fellow community members.

How you can effectively advocate:

  • Visit this site frequently to stay up-to-date on bills related to our legislative agenda. COMING SOON: Watch our series of 10 minutes videos to learn how you can effectively advocate and receive overviews on current legislation impacting our autism community.
  • Visit Virginia’s Legislative Information System (LIS) to search and track bills that are important to you. Familiarize yourself with the details and status of each, and be sure to check back in regularly to track.
  • Testify in committee hearings.  Please let us know if there’s an item you’d like to speak to, and we will do our best to notify you as soon as the committee meeting is announced.  Virtual testimony is allowed!
  • Visit the Who’s My Legislator website and enter your address to find your Delegate and Senator. Reach out to your Delegate and Senator via phone or email to request their support of specific bills, including WHY 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 request their support.
  • Participate in 2024 Autism Advocacy Day on Tuesday January 30th at the General Assembly to meet with your legislators and be part of a powerful day to make our voices heard!

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 policymakers 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 autistic individuals 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!