2000 Legislative Bills
Updated April 25, 2000

House Bills | Senate Bills | Budget Amendment | Resolutions | For Your Information

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The 2000 General Assembly session convened on January 12, 2000.  Nearly 4,000 bills, resolutions and budget amendments were introduced this year.  The 60-day session ended on March 11, 2000.

To check the latest status of bills, resolutions, and amendments or check for your legislator's name, etc., visit the Virginia Legislative web site at

http://legis.state.va.us/online/v.htm


House Bills:

HB 554 – Hearing Aids
Patron: Terry G. Kilgore
To require health insurers, health maintenance organizations and corporations providing health care coverage subscription contracts to provide coverage for treatment of hearing loss and impairment including hearing aids.  This includes the purchase of hearing aids, hearing examinations and related services.  This is for general public.
Status:  Referred to Commission on Mandated Health Benefits under House Corporations, Insurance and Banking Subcommittee for study and will be reported back to the 2001 General Assembly session.  This bill is currently opposed by the insurance industry  and  the Virginia Department of Health.
Comment:  The VAD Board wholly supports this bill.

HB 555 – Hearing Aids
Patron:  Terry G. Kilgore
To require the state employee health care plan to provide coverage for hearing examinations, hearing aids and related services.  This is for state employees.
Status:  Referred to Commission on Mandated Health Benefits under House Corporations, Insurance and Banking Subcommittee for study and will be reported back to the 2001 General Assembly session.  This  bill is currently opposed by the insurance industry and the Virginia Department of Health.
Comment:  The VAD Board wholly supports this bill.

For Your Information
House of Representatives Bill 2321 Hearing Aid Bill at the Federal level
providing coverage for treatment of hearing loss and impairment including hearing aids is awaiting action.
Only two states, California and Minnesota, now have the health insurance coverage for hearing aids.
Rhodes Island passed a bill covering $1,000 of the cost of a hearing aid this year.

HB 1054 – Virginia Relay
Patron:  Robert G. Marshall
To create the Consumer Advisory Board for Virginia Relay within the Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH) to provide consumer advice on Virginia’s telecommunications  relay service to state agencies as to whether it is meeting the needs of its clients and to assist in providing information about access to services.  This bill contains a technical amendment to the Code of Virginia.
Status:  Passed in the House (Block vote) (98-Y, 0-N); recommitted to the Senate Finance Committee for further study due to some concerns about the cost of the bill and will be reported back to the 2001 General Assembly 3/9/00.
Comment:  The VAD Board fully supports this bill.

HB 1001 – Regulations Governing Special Education
Patron:  John A. (Jack) Rollison III
In Section H,  this bill prohibits the Virginia Board of Education from promulgating regulations for special education programs that require any local school board to exceed the requirements of state law or federal law or regulations, unless, in the case of federal law or regulations, state law directs the Board to exceed federal requirements.
Status:  Referred to House Committee on Education (23-Y 0-N) 2/9/00. This will be reported back to the 2001 General Assembly.

Special Note:  A local parent is concerned that this amendment would strip away existing parental rights for Virginia parents such as (1) requiring parental consent before making a change in placement of their special education child; and (2) obtaining parental consent before changing a special education child’s IEP.  ….”I am all for minimizing education regulations, but IDEA only provides minimum parental rights such as requiring schools to obtain parental consent for evaluation of their children for special education.  In addition, other education groups such as local special education advisory committees would no longer exist.”


Senate Bills:

SB 271 – Hearing Aids
Patron:  R. Edward Houck
To require the state employee health care plan to provide coverage for hearing examinations, hearing aids and related services as same as HB 555 above.
Status:  Referred to Commission on Mandated Health Benefits under Committee on Finance same as HB 555 above 2/1/00.
Comment:  The VAD Board fully endorses this bill.

SB 272 – Hearing Aids
Patron:  R. Edward Houck
To require health insurers, health maintenance organizations and corporations providing Health care coverage subscription contracts to provide coverage for treatment of hearing Loss and impairment, including hearing aids.  This includes the purchase of hearing aids, hearing examinations and related services as same as HB 554 above.
Status:  Referred to Commission on Mandated Health Benefits under Senate Commerce and Labor .as same as HB 554 above 1/31/00.   It  is currently opposed by insurance industry and the Virginia Department of Health.
Comment:  The VAD Board fully endorses this bill.

SB 675 – School for the Deaf and the Blind at Hampton
Patron: Emmett W. Hanger, Jr.
To change the name of the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind at Hampton to The Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind Multi-Disabled at Hampton to reflect more accurately its mission.  This bill alters the name of the school at Hampton and does not affect the powers and duties of the Board of Education and the Superintendent of Public Instruction relative to the control, administration, supervision, and direction of the schools.  This bill contains a technical amendment to the Code of Virginia.  The Hampton school will be known as the Virginia School for Sensory Impaired Disabilities at Hampton when the bill is signed into law.
Status:  Passed in the Senate (39-Y, 0-N); passed in the House (Block vote) (99-Y 0-N).
Comment:  No action.


Budget Amendments:

HB 30 – Budget Bill
Patron Vincent F. Callahan, Jr.
SB 30 – Budget Bill
Patron:  John H. Chichester

These bills are formally introduced to appropriate the public revenue for the two years, 2000  and  2001.  The various amendment item numbers are assigned by the Legislative Information Services as budget amendments are processed.  Among them that affect us are:

 In HB and SB 30:

  1. Item #158  1h - $103,024 request for increase in the dormitory contract from 9.5 to 10 months for training, money for ASL instruction and money for assessing ASL skills.  Approved.
  2. Item #158 (1c) 2h - $78,024 (originally requested $63,902) request for annual funding for a pay differential for 27 residential staff working the 3-11 shift.  This is to address the high staff turnover.  Approved.  This was recommended by Advisory Commission on the Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind.
  3. Item #298(1c)  1s - $100,000 (originally requested $1.5 million) request  for additional VDDHH funding for additional staff, technical assistance, interpretation equipment, technology assistance, and public awareness materials so that VDDHH can provide increased outreach services to more deaf and hard of hearing persons by Patron Warren E. Barry.  Approved.  This increases VDDHH's budget to $1,605,905 each for 2000 and 2001.  The $100,000 increase is added to the $150,000 increase we got in the 1999 General Assembly session.
  4. Item #298(1c)  2h - $100,000 (originally requested $1.5 million) request for additional VDDHH funding for additional staff, technical assistance, interpretation equipment, technology assistance, and public awareness materials so that the VDDHH can provide increased outreach services to the deaf and hard of hearing persons (as same as #298 (1c) 1s above) by Patron Karen Darner.  Approved.

The General Assembly also put language back into the Budget related to the location of the Virginia Relay Center in Norton, VA.  The new language provides somewhat more flexibility than the previous language by requiring only that "basic" relay service be provided from Norton.  This means that a phone relay can be set up at other locations in Virginia in the near future.


Resolutions:

HJ 371 Study: Hearing Loss
Patron:  Harvey B. Morgan
To request the Virginia Department of Health to study strategies to prevent hearing loss from loud noises.  This resolution notes the loud sounds that are prevalent in everyday life, such as television, radio, washing machines, automobiles, buses, motorcycles, lawnmowers, vacuum cleaners, garbage disposals, trucks and music.  The harmful effects of many loud noises on the structures of the ear are also described; however, noise-induced loss is preventable if individuals would only practice good health habits to protect their hearing, such as wearing protective gear and being sensitive to the dangers of loud noise.  The Department of Health will be advised by a task force of medical and other experts to be appointed by the Commissioner.  The Department must report in 2001.
Status:  Passed in House Committee on Rules (17-Y, 0-N).  Will be reported back to the 2001 General Assembly.

Senate Study Resolution 135 - Hearing Officer System and Appeals of Special Education Decisions
Patron:  John S. Edwards
To request the Administrative Law Committee to study the hearing officer system and appeals of special education decisions.  This resolution notes recent proposed revisions of the special education system vis-à-vis special education hearings.  However, parents of disabled children and their attorneys do not believe that these efforts are enough.  The Administrative Law Committee is to receive technical assistance from the Department of Education, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, and the Supreme Court.  The Committee is directed to consult with the parents of disabled children and their attorneys concerning the problems experienced and to address any allegations of inappropriate ex parte contact, judge shopping techniques, insufficient training in conducting the hearings, and the lack of hearing officer expertise in the relevant law.  This resolution comes due to the efforts of parents.  The Virginia Coalition for Students with Disabilities is advocating for a major restructuring of the hearing officer system.


For Your Information:

Included in the budget appropriation are as follows:  (all from general fund)

$5.2 million amendment to enable the 15 Centers for Independent Living to serve an additional 4,000 individuals with disabilities statewide by providing increased independent living support services.  Those served include persons who have brain injuries, are deaf or hard of hearing, and who are blind or have visual impairments.

HB 988 Vision Impaired:  Board and Department
Patron:  Anne G. (Panny) Rhodes
To change the name of the Department and Board for the Visually Handicapped to the Department and Board for the Blind and Vision Impaired (VDBVI).  This was carried over from the 1999 General Assembly as HJ 571 - Study: Visually Handicapped for a name change recommendation to amend the Code of Virginia.
Status:  Passed in the House (96-Y, 2-N) 2/15/00; passed in the Senate (39-Y, 0-N) 2/25/00.
Comment:  This does not affect the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.

 

Legislative Legend

HB - House Bill SB - Senate Bill
HR - House Resolution SR - Senate Resolution
HJR - House Joint Resolution SJR - Senate Joint Resolution

Y Yes, N No


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