RICHMOND, Va. – Hundreds of new laws take effect in Virginia on Saturday, July 1, ranging from hunting attire to birth control.
For example, the criminal procedure has changed regarding the suspension of a driver’s license if they were charged with marijuana possession. Previously, the person lost their license for six months. Now they can keep it.
Local governments now also have more authority to regulate shared economy home rental platforms, and home owners could face a penalty if they don’t register (if required to). Health insurance companies will be required to cover 12-month supplies of prescription birth control. And hunters can add blaze pink to their fashion lineup this deer hunting season.
Plus, beer delivery!
The General Assembly session concluded on Feb. 25, 2017, with a $107 billion biennium budget and 836 bills approved. New laws always start on July 1 in conjunction with the state’s new fiscal year.
The year’s session may have been less eventful compared to previous years, due to the fact that all 100 House of Delegates seats and three statewide offices are up for election in November 2017. There was a lot of bipartisan buckling down and passage of “kitchen sink” laws.
Read about all approved 836 bills, here.
ALCOHOL BEVERAGE AND CONTROL
Stronger booze. House Bill (HB) 1842. The law increases from 101 to 151 the proof of neutral grain spirits or alcohol that is without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color that may be sold at government stores. But this stronger booze law expires July 1, 2022.
Drink and shop? HB 1987/SB 1391. New license created that allows for, and defines, commercial lifestyle centers, where people can carry drinks around with them. It’s a strange name for the concept seen, say, in the French Quarter or downtown Charleston, S.C.
According to the GA, a “commercial lifestyle center” is a mixed-use commercial development that covers a minimum of 25 acres of land and has at least 100,000 square feet of retail space featuring national specialty chain stores, and a combination of dining, entertainment, office, residential or hotel establishments located in a physically integrated outdoor setting that is pedestrian friendly and that is governed by a commercial owners’ association. So, think Short Pump Town Center or Stony Point Fashion Park. A representative with Short Pump said the mall sits on 147-acres, including surrounding parking/wooded areas.
Bonus. SB 1108. You can drink on a walking culinary tour now, because it’s 2017.
Beer delivery. HB 1801 permits off-premise wine and beer licensees to deliver closed containers of alcoholic beverages to a customer’s vehicle when: 1) that vehicle is parked in a designated space and 2) the online order of that wine or beer was placed in advance of the delivery.
Defamation. HB 1941/ SB 1413. Immune to defamation regarding matters of public concern unless you did it knowing your statement was false.
Battery. HB 1921 Expands the penalty for battery against a health care provider who is engaged in the performance of his duties to apply in hospitals or in emergency rooms on the premises of any clinic or other facility rendering emergency care.
Peeping. HB 2350 The law punishes as a Class 1 misdemeanor the use of an electronic device to enter the property of another to secretly or furtively peep or spy or attempt to peep or spy into a dwelling or occupied building located on such property, unless such use occurs pursuant to a lawful criminal investigation. No auditory research experiments, okay.
Dangerous dogs. HB 2381. Animal control officers now have more discretion to determine if the owner of a dog who bit or scratched another animal or human needs to appear in court. If a dog is deemed dangerous, the owner must obtain a dangerous dog registration certificate, priced at $150, in 30 days.
Lifetime license. SB 856. Cats and dogs; lifetime licenses. Authorizes the governing body of a county or city to provide for a lifetime dog or cat license. The bill also removes the minimum annual tax for a dog or cat, sets the maximum tax for a lifetime license at $50, and limits the fee for a duplicate dog or cat tag to $1.
Firearms. HB 1392. School security officers can carry a firearm in performance of duties, with exceptions.
Bullying. HB 1709. School Board codes must require the principal to notify parents of any student involved in an alleged incident of bullying of the status of any investigation within five school days of the allegation of bullying.
Traffic stops. HB 2290. Driver education programs; instruction concerning traffic stops. Students will learn traffic stop procedures in driver’s ed. Bill requires the Board of Education to collaborate with the Department of State Police in implementing the changes to its driver education program.
For a full list of laws going into effect click here.