2020 General Assembly Session

Special Services Related Legislation

2020 General Assembly Summary
Special Services Related Legislation
Fairfax County Public Schools, Office of Government Relations

This report describes all of the Special Services-related legislation considered during the 2020 General Assembly Regular Session.  Bills are listed in one of three categories: Approved, Continued to 2021, or Failed. 

Approved legislation goes into effect on July 1, 2020 unless otherwise specified in the legislation itself.

Bills designated as “Continued to 2021” are effectively “Failed” for purposes of the 2020 Session, but can still be acted upon by the Committee that recommended continuing the legislation prior to the 2021 Session (by December 3, 2020).  Even if a bill were to be acted upon prior to that deadline (which rarely occurs), it would still have to proceed through the remainder of the legislative process (pass in both chambers, signed by the Governor) during the 2021 Session.

Summaries are linked to the Division of Legislative Services’ web pages for text, up to date summary information, and fiscal impact statements. If a bill of interest is not found in one category, please check another as legislation often can fit under multiple categories.

UPDATED:  March 30, 2020

SPECIAL SERVICES - PASSED

Access to Minor's Child-Care Records by Parent SB 430 (Surovell) provides that, absent a court order, a minor's records from a child day center or family day home shall not be withheld from a parent of such minor, regardless of whether the parent has custody of such child.

Applied Behavior Analysis Services; Department of Education to Develop Guidance and Resources HB 1722 (Roem)  requires the Department of Education to develop and publish guidance and resources relating to the provision of applied behavior analysis services in public schools for students who are in need of such services. Such guidance shall be published no later than November 16, 2020.

Art Therapists and Art Therapy Associates; Definitions, Licensure SB 713 (McClellan) requires the Board of Counseling to adopt regulations establishing a regulatory structure to license art therapists and art therapist associates, as those terms are defined in the bill, in the Commonwealth and establishes an advisory board to assist the Board in this process. Under the bill, no person shall engage in the practice of art therapy or hold himself out or otherwise represent himself as an art therapist or art therapist associate unless he is licensed by the Board.  

Autism Advisory Council; Extends Sunset Provision SB 177 (Hanger) extends the sunset provision of the Autism Advisory Council from July 1, 2020, to July 1, 2022.

Commission on Wellness and Opportunity Established HB 1056 (Adams, D.M.) creates the 23-member Commission on Wellness and Opportunity in the legislative branch to study and make recommendations relating to establishing the mission and vision of what health and wellness means for Virginia by examining various dimensions of health and wellness, including but not limited to physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, environmental, and social wellness, and utilizing the comprehensive theoretical framework of "the social determinants of health"; identifying and defining measurable opportunities and outcomes that build community competence around well-being; and making policy recommendations for improving the quality of life for the people of the Commonwealth. The Commission shall meet at least quarterly. The bill provides that the Commission will sunset on July 1, 2025.

Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation, Feasibility of Developing HJ 51 (Sickles) directs the Departments of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, Education, and Social Services to jointly study the feasibility of developing an early childhood mental health consultation program available to all early care and education programs serving children from birth to five years of age. The Departments shall complete their meetings by November 30, 2020, and shall submit to the Governor and the General Assembly an executive summary and a report of their findings and recommendations for publication as a House or Senate document by the first day of the 2021 Regular Session of the General Assembly.

Epinephrine; Accessibility HB 999  (Bell) requires each school board's policies on the possession and administration of epinephrine in every school in the local school division to require that at least one school nurse, employee of the school board, employee of a local governing body, or employee of a local health department who is authorized by a prescriber and trained in the administration of epinephrine has the means to access at all times during regular school hours any such epinephrine that is stored in a locked or otherwise generally inaccessible container or area.

Excused Absences, Mental and Behavioral Health HB 308 (Hope) requires the Department of Education to establish and distribute to each school board guidelines for the granting of excused absences to students who are absent from school due to mental or behavioral health and requires any student who is absent from school due to his mental or behavioral health to be granted an excused absence, subject to such guidelines. Such guidelines shall be distributed no later than December 31, 2020.

Fostering Futures Program; Established HB 400 (Keam) establishes the Fostering Futures program to provide services and support to individuals between the ages of 18 and 21 who were in foster care as a minor and are transitioning to full adulthood and self-sufficiency.

Guardianship; Review of Individualized Education Plan SB 214 (Suetterlein) provides that if the respondent to a guardianship or conservatorship petition is between 17 and a half and 21 years of age and has an Individualized Education Plan, the guardian ad litem appointed to represent the respondent shall review the IEP and include the results of his review in the report required to be submitted to the court.

Guardianship; Supported Decision Making SB 585 (Dunnavant) provides that if the respondent to a guardianship or conservatorship petition is between 17 and a half and 21 years of age and has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), the guardian ad litem appointed to represent the respondent shall review the IEP and include the results of his review in the report required to be submitted to the court and requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction to make available transitional materials prepared by the Department of Education that include information about powers of attorney and guardianship to be provided to students and parents during the student's annual IEP meeting. The bill also requires the guardian ad litem to consider whether a less restrictive alternative, including the use of an advance directive or durable power of attorney, is available to provide assistance to the respondent. The bill requires the court, upon appointment of a guardian or conservator, to inform such person of his duties and that the respondent should be encouraged to participate in decisions, act on his own behalf, and develop or maintain the capacity to manage his personal affairs if he retains any decision-making rights. The bill sets out specific language to be included in all orders of appointment of a guardian. Finally, the bill requires the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services to convene a group of stakeholders to study the use of supported decision-making agreements.

Individualized Education Program Teams; Department of Education to Develop Guidelines HB 134 (Runion) and SB 186 (Dunnavant) require the Department of Education to establish guidelines for individualized education program (IEP) teams to utilize when developing IEPs for children with disabilities to ensure that IEP teams consider the need for age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate instruction related to sexual health, self-restraint, self-protection, respect for personal privacy, and personal boundaries of others. The bills require each local school board, in developing IEPs for children with disabilities, in addition to any other requirements established by the Board of Education, to ensure that IEP teams consider such guidelines.

Inhaled Asthma Medication; Professional Use By Practitioners HB 860 (Bell) and HB 1174 (Lopez) provide that, pursuant to an order or standing protocol issued by the prescriber within the course of his professional practice, any school nurse, school board employee, employee of a local governing body, employee of a local health department, employee of a school for students with disabilities, or employee of an accredited private school who is authorized by a prescriber and trained in the administration of albuterol inhalers or nebulized albuterol may possess or administer an albuterol inhaler or nebulized albuterol to a student diagnosed with a condition requiring an albuterol inhaler or nebulized albuterol when the student is believed to be experiencing or about to experience an asthmatic crisis. The bills also provide that a school nurse, employee of a school board, employee of a local governing body, or employee of a local health department who is authorized by a prescriber and trained in the administration of albuterol inhalers or nebulized albuterol who provides, administers, or assists in the administration of an albuterol inhaler or nebulized albuterol for a student believed in good faith to be in need of such medication, or is the prescriber of such medication, is not liable for civil damages for ordinary negligence in acts or omissions resulting from the rendering of such treatment.

In-State Tuition; Refugees; Public institutions of Higher Education HB 1179 (Tran) provides that an individual is eligible for in-state tuition charges regardless of domicile if he is admitted to the United States as a refugee under 8 U.S.C. § 1157 within the previous two calendar years or received a Special Immigrant Visa that has been granted a status under P.L. 110-181 § 1244, P.L. 109-163 § 1059, or P.L. 111-8 § 602 within the previous two calendar years, and upon entering the United States, the individual resided in the Commonwealth and continues to reside in the Commonwealth as a refugee or pursuant to such Special Immigrant Visa.  

Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court; Intake HB 1324 (Carroll Foy) makes various changes to the intake procedures for the domestic relations district court, including providing that, if a juvenile is alleged to be a truant, the intake officer may defer filing a petition in order to develop and allow the juvenile to complete a truancy plan or program; changing the notice requirement for circumstances under which informal action has been taken on a complaint alleging that a juvenile is in need of services, in need of supervision, or delinquent so that the intake officer advises the juvenile and his parents that any subsequent complaint may result in the filing of a petition with the court; and adding possession of alcohol to the existing offense of possession of marijuana for which, if charged by summons, a juvenile is entitled to have the charge referred to intake for consideration of informal proceedings.

Music Therapy; Licensure HB 1562 (Head) and SB 633 (Vogel) require the Board of Social Work to adopt regulations establishing a regulatory structure to license music therapists in the Commonwealth and establishes an advisory board to assist the Board in this process. Under the bills, no person shall engage in the practice of music therapy or hold himself out or otherwise represent himself as a music therapist unless he is licensed by the Board.

Office of the Children's Ombudsman Established HB 1301 (Hurst) establishes the Office of the Children's Ombudsman as a means of effecting changes in policy, procedure, and legislation; educating the public; investigating and reviewing actions of the State Department of Social Services, local departments of social services, child-placing agencies, or child-caring institutions; and monitoring and ensuring compliance with relevant statutes, rules, and policies pertaining to children's protective services and the placement, supervision, treatment, and improvement of delivery of care to children in foster care and adoptive homes. The Office of the Children's Ombudsman is headed by the Children's Ombudsman, who is appointed for a term of four years by the Governor and subject to confirmation by the General Assembly.

Parental Educational Information; Tobacco and Nicotine HB 1073 (Kory) requires each school board to annually provide parents of pupils in grades kindergarten through 12 information regarding the health dangers of tobacco and nicotine vapor products. The bill requires that the information provided be consistent with guidelines set forth by the Department of Education.

Public Institutions of Higher Education; Students; Determination of Domicile HB 1315 (Kory) prohibits any student at a public institution of higher education from being deemed ineligible to establish domicile and receive in-state tuition charges solely on the basis of the immigration status of his parent.  

Required Immunizations HB 1090 (Hope) amends the minimum vaccination requirements for attendance at a public or private elementary, middle or secondary school, child care center, nursery school, family day care home or developmental center. The bill also requires the State Board of Health to amend the State Board of Health Regulations for the Immunization of School Children as necessary from time to time to maintain conformity with evidence-based routinely recommended vaccinations for children. The bill provides that the adoption of such regulations shall be exempt from the requirements of Article 2 (§ 2.2-4006 et seq.) of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4006 et seq. of the Code of Virginia) and requires the Department to (i) provide a Notice of Intended Regulatory Action and (ii) provide for a 60-day public comment period prior to the Board's adoption of the regulations. HB 1090 incorporated HB 1489 (Hudson).

School Attendance Officers; Petitions for Violation of a School Attendance Order HB 1081 (Guzman) and SB 237 (Barker) provide that an attendance officer, or a division superintendent or his designee when acting as an attendance officer, to complete, sign, and file with the intake officer of the juvenile and domestic relations district court, on forms approved by the Supreme Court of Virginia, a petition for a violation of a school attendance order entered by the juvenile and domestic relations district court in response to the filing of a petition alleging the pupil is a child in need of supervision. The bills provide that such actions do not constitute the unauthorized practice of law.

School Enrollment; Students Formerly in Foster Care HB 368 (Carroll Foy) and  SB 275 (Barker) specify that several provisions of law relating to the public school enrollment of children placed in foster care apply to any pupil who was in foster care when he reached age 18 but who has not yet reached age 22.

Process for Approval of Residential Psychiatric Placement and Services; Report HB 728 (Hope) and SB 734 (Deeds) direct the Secretaries of Education and Health and Human Resources to establish a work group to study the current process for approval of residential psychiatric services for children and adolescents and requires the work group to report its findings and recommendations to the Chairmen of the House Committee on Appropriations, the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations, and the Joint Subcommittee to Study Mental Health Services in the Commonwealth in the 21st Century by December 1, 2020. 

 

SPECIAL SERVICES – CONTINUED TO 2021

Children's Services Act; Community Policy and Management Teams; Use of Funds SB 190 (Peake) would provide that the state pool of funds for community policy and management teams may be used for residential or nonresidential services in a public school setting and to provide services to children placed in public residential facilities or public special education day schools in addition to such private facilities and private special education day schools as provided in current law.

Children's Services Act; Special Education Programs HB 762 (Cole, J.G.) and SB 135 (Stuart) would expand eligibility for services under the Children's Services Act to students who transfer from an approved private school special education program to a public school special education program established and funded jointly by a local governing body and school division located within Planning District 16 for the purpose of providing special education and related services when the public school special education program is able to provide services comparable to those of an approved private school special education program and the student would require placement in an approved private school special education program but for the availability of the public school special education program.

Guardianship; Supported Decision Making HB 1321 (Kory) would create the Supported Decision-Making Act, which allows an adult with an intellectual or developmental disability to enter into an agreement with another person, called a "supporter," for the purposes of having the supporter assist the adult in making decisions to manage his affairs, giving adults who need assistance a less restrictive means of receiving such assistance than being appointed a guardian or conservator by a court.

Placement Transition of Certain Students; Pilot HB 49 (McNamara) and SB 128 (Suetterlein) would require the Department of Education and relevant local school boards to develop and implement a pilot program for up to four years in two to eight local school divisions in the Commonwealth. In developing the pilot, the Department would be required to partner with the appropriate school board employees in each such local school division to identify the resources, services, and supports required by each student who resides in each such local school division and who is educated in a private school setting pursuant to his Individualized Education Program; study the feasibility of transitioning each such student from his private school setting to an appropriate public school setting in the local school division and providing the identified resources, services, and supports in such public school setting; and recommend a process for redirecting federal, state, and local funds, including funds provided pursuant to the Children's Services Act, provided for the education of each such student to the local school division for the purpose of providing the identified resources, services, and supports in the appropriate public school setting.

Seizure Management and Action Plans; Training SB 420 (DeSteph) would provide for the submission and utilization of seizure management and action plans for students with a seizure disorder. The bill would require that school nurses and certain school division employees biennially complete a Board of Education-approved online course of instruction regarding treating students with seizure disorders. The bill would also provide immunity from civil liability for acts or omissions related to providing for the care of a student under a seizure management and action plan.

Special Education; Due Process Hearings; Nonattorney Representatives HB 1381 (Leftwich) would permit a school division and the parents of a child with a disability in the school division to be accompanied and advised by any nonattorney with special knowledge or training with respect to the needs of children with disabilities in any due process hearing before a hearing officer. The bill would declare that it constitutes the practice of law without being authorized or licensed to do so as prohibited by law when any such nonattorney drafts or submits pleadings, motions, or briefs; presents evidence; makes any argument, including any argument relating to any law or regulation; or questions witnesses on behalf of any parent or student. The bill eoulf require the Board of Education to adopt regulations to establish licensure requirements, including minimum training and qualification requirements, a code of professional conduct, and a mechanism for the review and resolution of complaints for such nonattorneys.

 

SPECIAL SERVICES - FAILED

Adverse Childhood Experiences; Board of Medicine to Adopt Regulations for Screening HB 41 (Samirah) would have directed the Board of Medicine to adopt regulations requiring every health care practitioner licensed by the Board who provides primary health care services to, at the time of a patient’s first appointment, provide to the patient information regarding the impact of adverse childhood experiences on physical and mental health and the risks and benefits of screening patients for adverse childhood experiences and screen patients for adverse childhood experiences that may impact a patient's physical or mental health or the provision of health care services to such patient.

Baccalaureate Public Institutions of Higher Education; Websites; Certain Information; Degree Completion HB 1178 (Poindexter) would have required each baccalaureate public institution of higher education to include, on the informational tab or link on the home page of its website that the institution is required to maintain and annually update, the number of degrees completed during the most recent academic year by degree program and by primary location and manner of completion, including completion on the main campus, at a center or other institution established pursuant to Chapter 31 (Educational Authorities, Centers, Committees, Funds, Institutes, and Partnerships) of Title 23.1, and online.

Behavioral Assessments and Interventions; Department of Education to Review Certain Guidelines SB 1034 (Chafin) would have directed the Department of Education to review and revise the Guidelines for Conducting Functional Behavioral Assessment and Developing Positive Behavior Intervention Supports and Strategies to align with research-based behavior science and best practices for functional behavior analysis. The bill also would have required the Department to review and revise the content of the in-depth training provided to local school divisions on conducting functional behavioral analysis and developing quality behavior intervention plans.

Child Abuse and Neglect; Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation HB 580 (Guzman) would have  expanded the definition of "abused or neglected child" to include any child whose parents, or other person responsible for his care, create or inflict, threaten to create or inflict, or allow to be created or inflicted upon such child a physical or mental injury on the basis of the child's gender identity or sexual orientation.

Children with Disabilities; Alternative Placements, State Funds HB 231 (Freitas) would have required the parent of any child with a disability who is placed in a public school pursuant to his individualized education program who subsequently places his child in a nonpublic school setting to receive from the school board, upon request, the applicable Standards of Quality per pupil state funds appropriated for public school purposes and apportioned to the school division, including the per pupil share of state sales tax funding in basic aid and any state per pupil share of special education funding for which the child is eligible, to pay for tuition and fees associated with such nonpublic school setting, subject to such rules, regulations, or procedures as the Department of Education may establish. The bill would have required each such parent to submit annually to the division superintendent an evaluation or assessment that indicates that the child is achieving an adequate level of educational growth and progress.

Immunization Rates SB 339 (Stuart)  would have required each school board to publish on the official school division website for each school in the school division the number of students admitted to the school with documentary proof of immunization, the number of students who have been admitted with a medical or religious exemption, and the number of students who have been conditionally admitted.

In-State Tuition; Domicile, Individuals Granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals SB 220 (Marsden) would have declared that, absent congressional intent to the contrary, any individual currently granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has the capacity to intend to remain in the Commonwealth indefinitely and is therefore eligible to establish domicile and receive in-state tuition charges at any public institution of higher education in the Commonwealth.

Mental Health Crisis Intervention Hotline SB 930 (Stuart)  would have directed the Secretary of Health and Human Resources to establish a work group to evaluate the feasibility of establishing and maintaining a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, toll-free Mental Health Crisis Intervention Hotline (the Hotline) to receive anonymous tips regarding individuals suspected to be in need of mental health treatment to facilitate mental health treatment, crisis intervention, and prevention of tragedies and developing and implementing policies and procedures for referring tips received through the Hotline to state or local law enforcement, as may be appropriate, in a timely manner for follow-up and investigation.

School Safety Mobile Application HB 352 (Davis) would have required the Virginia Fusion Intelligence Center to develop or obtain a school safety mobile application to facilitate the provision of free, confidential, real-time, 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week crisis intervention services by licensed clinicians, including support or crisis counseling, suicide prevention, and referral services to students and youth in the Commonwealth through calls, texts, and online chats, and provide to students and youth in the Commonwealth a platform that is capable of receiving text, audio, images, and video to submit confidential tips concerning bullying, threats of school violence, and other school-related safety concerns.

Special Education Staffing Ratios HJ 79 (Guzman) would have directed the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission to include in its current review of the effectiveness of Virginia's special education programs an examination of the prescribed and actual ratios of students to special education instructional and support personnel in public elementary and secondary schools in the Commonwealth to determine whether any adjustment to such ratios is necessary.

Vaccinations and Immunizations; Certain Minors Given Authority to Consent SB 104 (Favola) would have provided that a minor shall be deemed an adult for the purpose of consenting to medical or health services related to receiving vaccinations and immunizations recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention if the individual is at least 14 years of age and demonstrates to the satisfaction of a health care practitioner the ability to understand at the same comprehension level as an adult the risks and benefits associated with vaccinations and immunizations.

Virginia Hearing Loss Identification & Monitoring System; Language Development for Certain Children SB 564 (Edwards) would have expanded the responsibilities of the advisory committee of the Virginia Hearing Loss Identification and Monitoring System to include selecting language development milestones for educators and early intervention specialists for use in assessing the language and literacy development of children from birth to age five who are deaf or hard or hearing. The bill would have required the addition of at least two language experts to the advisory committee.