RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY/AP) — Dozens of new laws in Virginia will go into effect starting July 1. Thousands of Virginians will be able to get their driver’s licenses back, bars will be able to promote their happy hour specials, and big-dollar lottery winners will be able to keep their identities secret under a host of new laws going into effect Monday.
One of the biggest items that passed during the legislative session earlier this year was a measure that ends the suspension of driver’s licenses of people with unpaid court debt. The Department of Motor Vehicles said it sent 500,000 letters to Virginia residents with suspended licenses advising them how to get their licenses back starting July 1.
Here is a list of some other notable new laws:
HB 2748: This law raises the minimum legal age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21-year-old. Service members under 21 will need a valid military ID to purchase tobacco products.
HB 1622: Out-of-court and recorded statements by child abuse victims. This law makes recording of kids under the age of 14, who claim to have been abused or neglected, describe the acts allowed in court. Currently, this is only allowed for kids younger than 12.
HB 1623: Military family relocation, student registration. It allows children whose parents are service members that get reassigned to Virginia, register for classes and participate in charter school lotteries for free. Families have to submit documentation within 120 days of relocation to avoid the charge.
MYSTERY LOTTERY WINNERS
HB 1650: Virginia Lottery Law. It prohibits the Virginia Lottery from disclosing information about individual winners whose prize exceeds $10 million, and exempts such information from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), unless the winner consents to disclosure. Under FOIA, disclosure of the winner’s name, hometown, and amount won is currently mandatory. This bill is identical to SB 1060.
SCHOOL BEFORE LABOR DAY
HB 1652: Setting the first day of school. Local school boards can set the first day of school at least 14 days before Labor Day. The Board of Education can waive this for good cause. Virginia schools currently start after Labor Day which is known as the “Kings Dominion Law.”
HB 1732: This law requires the school board to create a procedure and plan for emergency training for students and school security.
NO SMOKING AT SCHOOLS
HB 2384: This requires school boards to create a policy that bans tobacco and vaping products on school grounds along with school property like school buses and at school sponsored activities on and off site.
REPORTING CHILD ABUSE
HB 1659: Child abuse and neglect mandatory reporters. This law adds priests, rabbis, imams, and accredited practitioners and religious leaders to the required list to report child abuse and/or neglect.
HB 1839: Industrial Hemp law. This law amends the definition of cananbidiol, marijuana and THC to exclude industrial hemp.
HB 1874: Animal cruelty is now a felony punishable 1-5 years in jail, a $2,500 fine or both.
MOVE OVER LAW
HB 1911: Move Over law. Governor Northam also signed a bill, House Bill 2011, to establish the Lt. Brad Clark’s Memorial License Plate. The plates are in honor of Lt. Clark’s memory and remind drivers to move over and use caution when first responders are on the side of the interstate. This law turns the charge into a misdemeanor reckless driving if you don’t obey.
HB 708: This law requires kids to be put in rear-facing car seats until they’re 2-years-old.
HB 2073: This law allows ABC-licensed restaurants and bars to advertise their happy hour drinks and their prices and use creative marketing techniques.
TAMPONS IN PRISON
A new state law will require the Department of Corrections to come up with new policies that ensure that visitors to state prisons can wear tampons. Last year, the department suspended a briefly introduced policy that would have barred women who visit inmates at state prisons from wearing tampons. Department officials said they prevent contraband from being smuggled into prisons.
The price of getting a car’s yearly safety inspection done will go from $16 to $20.
A package of new laws will go into effect aimed at reducing evictions by giving tenants more time to pay rent and fees ahead of an eviction notice and limiting the number of legal actions a landlord may file.
JIM CROW WAGES
Virginia’s Jim Crow-era exceptions to the state’s minimum-wage law are coming off the books. Lawmakers approved legislation that eliminates an exemption in state law that said certain jobs traditionally held by African Americans, including ushers and doormen, didn’t have to pay minimum wage.