RICHMOND, VA. —This afternoon, HB 1848, a bill that extends discrimination protections for disabled individuals, emerged from the General Laws Committee on a 22-0 vote. The bill now heads to the full House on the uncontested calendar. HB 1848 extends new protections to Virginians with disabilities under the Virginia Human Rights Act, specifically in employment, housing, and public accommodations.
“I am very happy that the bill has widespread support. I can’t thank our advocates enough, and am grateful for the leadership in Attorney General Mark Herring’s office and for the guidance of the disAbility Law Center,” said Delegate Mark D. Sickles, Chair of the Health, Welfare, and Institutions committee.
HB 1848 adds disability as a protected class and codifies the federal American Disabilities Act into Virginia Code. It expands the Virginia Values Act, which passed only last year making Virginia the first Southern state with statutory discrimination protections for LGBTQ Virginians.
“Virginians with disabilities are ready, willing, and able to contribute their talents and skills to our economy. And yet, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is unacceptably high. The passage of this bill is an important, and long-overdue step to create a more welcoming and inclusive environment for all Virginians to have gainful employment,” remarked Delegate David Bulova, chair of the General Laws committee.
It is anticipated HB 1848 will be on the House “floor” on Friday, January 22 at 4 pm EST. Delegates Danica Roem, Mark Levine, Dawn Adams, and Kathy Tran serve as chief co-patrons to HB 1848.