Supporting Virginians with Disabilities
Here’s the Problem
It is incredibly difficult for people with disabilities and their families to have basic needs met. I believe that everyone should be able to lead fulfilling lives and access support when needed. I am committed to standing with the disability community to ensure their right to thrive in our Commonwealth.
My Plans as Governor
My plan sets out to expand broadband access, make telehealth more widely available, eliminate subminimum wages so workers can earn livable incomes, drastically reform and reduce the use of restraint and seclusion tactics in schools, and other key priorities.
As Governor, I will:
- Work to eliminate the inclusion penalty to maximize participation in community-based services, including supported living and in-home care.
- Require education and training for school personnel on relationship-based, trauma-informed, collaborative approaches to providing a culture where children feel safe not only physically, but also emotionally, socially and culturally.
- Address the disparate use of discipline including restraints and seclusion on students with disabilities, specifically students of color.
- Codify legislation to prohibit the removal of accommodations, including mobility devices, technology, and interpreters, for people with disabilities at any stage in custody. The confiscation of such items makes it difficult for people with disabilities to communicate and advocate for themselves, leading some to become unnecessarily incarcerated.
- Support legislation to promote and protect the civil rights of parents with disabilities throughout the family services systems.
- Ensure Virginians of all backgrounds have access to economic opportunities by increasing financial support for Virginia’s Community Services Boards, which provide education, training, and services to youth and families with developmental disabilities; and by working to research and implement additional employer incentives to recruit, train, and hire people with disabilities. My administration will also promote the inclusion of students with disabilities in state government internship programs.
My Record & Experience
As a former public defender and current criminal defense attorney, I’ve always fought on behalf of individuals who are vulnerable to unfair treatment because of their mental or intellectual disability. I’ve also worked to protect and support our veterans with disabilities. I introduced and passed a bill to help service-disabled, veteran owned small businesses and veteran organizations purchase surplus property such as computers, furniture, and equipment to open or sustain a business.
As a Delegate, I:
- Co-patroned a bill to require the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) to provide long term support services for employees with disabilities.
- Helped pass legislation mandating healthcare insurers and providers to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder.
- Supported measures to ensure robust and comprehensive IEP guidelines for educators when developing IEPs for students with disabilities.
- Chief co-patroned legislation to establish the Marcus Alert System, which provides a mental health response with an informed law enforcement element to those experiencing a mental or behavioral health crisis.
- Co-patroned a bill mandating law-enforcement officers to undergo training on de-escalation techniques, the lawful use of force, and the recognition of implicit bias, including biases against people with mental illness and developmental or cognitive disabilities. This bill requires the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) to create a curriculum for the entire state.
- Co-patroned a bill to require that the Criminal Justice Services Board include representatives of “social justice organizations, representatives of community interests of minorities, and mental health service providers.”
- Supported measures to add crimes against individuals on the basis of disability to the categories of hate crimes and to increase the penalty for individuals who give a false report to the police on the basis of another person’s race, religion, or disability.
- Supported legislation to direct the Department of Corrections to review and improve accommodations for individuals with developmental disabilities.
- Voted in favor to allow “a court to defer and dismiss a criminal case where the defendant has been diagnosed with autism or an intellectual disability and the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the criminal conduct was caused by or had a direct and substantial relationship to the person’s disorder or disability.
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More Issues & Priorities
- Access to Broadband
- Affordable Housing
- Childcare & Early Childhood Education
- Clean Government & Ethics
- Criminal Justice Reform
- Gender Equality
- Gun Violence Prevention
- Health Care
- Jobs & the Economy
- Labor & Working Families
- Protecting LGBTQIA+ Rights
- Racial Justice
- Supporting Immigrant Communities