New laws take effect July 1 in Virginia


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — From drone laws, to changes in traffic laws and laws regarding child safety, there are dozens of new laws that go into effect Sunday, July 1 here in Virginia. 

Parents, this may affect you: The new law about rear-facing child restraints requires child restraint devices to be rear-facing until the child turns 2 years old or until the child reaches the weight or height limit of the rear-facing child restraint device — whichever happens later.

The bill expands the reasons that a physician may determine that it is impractical for a child to use a child restraint system to include the child’s height. The bill has a delayed effective date of July 1, 2019.

Drone use:

If you own a drone, you should be careful where you fly it. Now, it’s illegal to fly your drone within 50 feet of a home, that is,  if the owner of the home has asked the drone flyer to stop — that’s a class 1 misdemeanor. It’s also illegal to  harass or spy on someone with it. 

Trespass; unmanned aircraft system provides that any person who knowingly and intentionally causes an unmanned aircraft system to enter the property of another and come within 50 feet of a dwelling house (i) to coerce, intimidate, or harass another person or (ii) after having been given notice to desist, for any other reason, is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.

African-American cemeteries: Governor Northam signed into law a measure that gives historic black cemeteries the ability to apply for funding to help with maintenance and preserve grave sites. 

Recess time: A new law requires local school boards to provide (i) a minimum of 680 hours of instructional time to students in elementary except for students in half-day kindergarten and (ii) a minimum of 375 hours of instructional time to students in half-day kindergarten in the four academic disciplines of English, mathematics, science, and history and social science.

Dogs and libations: Dog owners are now allowed to bring four-legged friends into Virginia breweries, distilleries and wineries.  Of course provided their presence is “unlikely to result in contamination” and provided businesses allow it. 

Current law provides that no animal shall be permitted in any area used for the manufacture of food products, with certain exceptions for guard or guide animals.

There are also 14 new ABC liquor laws that go into effect, as well. 

To see the full list of new laws, click here.

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