New Virginia Laws

New laws for Virginia go in effect today.

I mentioned back in May, that all Virginia drivers will be required to have car insurance by July 1st.  This will eliminate the option for Virginians to drive a vehicle uninsured.  Virginia drivers will be required to buy and have proof of insurance.

Farm vehicles must display a Department of Motor Vehicles-issued farm use placard or run the risk of being ticketed.  Read more about that here.

According to Richmond Magazine here are some of the new laws in effect today.

ANIMAL CRUELTY

Judges may bar individuals convicted of felony cruelty to animals from possessing or owning companion or equine animals for life. Those convicted of a misdemeanor can receive a prohibition of up to five years. Another law prohibits the use of pain-inflicting tools to train or control elephants, while another outlaws cat declawing.

BOOZE ON THE GO

Pandemic-era rules that allowed to-go sales of mixed beverages and premixed wine are now permanent. The changes for distillers, licensed restaurants and farm wineries were set to expire in July. The law also eliminates third-party delivery licenses, which were added in 2022 and required delivery personnel to pass an alcohol delivery safety and responsibility training course. The law further directs state alcohol officials to study the issue and ways to better prevent underage drinking.

CORRECTIONS CANINES

Security dogs can no longer be used in juvenile correctional facilities or, except in specific situations, in state correctional facilities.

DATA CENTERS

Lottery games deemed as illegal gambling in Virginia can make use of data centers in the commonwealth if the wager is placed by a person within a state where those games are legal.

ETHNIC ANIMOSITY

Discrimination in employment and in places of public accommodation based on ethnic origin is prohibited. Punishment for those who target someone because of their ethnic origin is also increased, as is the case in similar hate crimes.

FIREFIGHTER LEAVE

Paid leave of absence for professional firefighters performing military duties is increased from an eight-hour, 21-workday cap to 388 work hours.

GUNS

Auto sears or Glock switches that allow semiautomatic handguns to be capable of fully automatic fire have been made illegal.

HIGHER EDUCATION

Public university admissions decisions can no longer be based on a student’s legacy status or family relationship to donors. Private schools like University of Richmond are unaffected by the law.

IMAGINATION LIBRARY

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which provides more than 2 million free books each month to children ages 5 and younger around the world, comes to Virginia under legislation that requires a nonprofit to run the state’s version of the early literacy advocacy program.

JURY DUTY

The age when you can request exemption is raised from 70 to 73 years old.

KAKE POP PROMOTION

Homemade foods can now be promoted online if the sale happens in person and follows specific rules. Richmond-area cake pop maker Kelly Phillips of KP’s Kake Pops was told last year that she had run afoul of state food safety rules by using an Instagram post to advertise her products that would be for sale at a holiday market. The legislation allows certain food stuffs made at home — such as cake pops — to be sold without inspection at events that last fewer than 14 days.

LUCIA’S LAW

It will be a felony for adults to allow a child to possess a firearm after being notified that the child poses a threat of violence. The bill was introduced after 13-year-old Lucia Bremer was killed by then-14-year-old Dylan Williams while walking home from school in Henrico County. Williams pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 60 years in prison. “We appreciate the wide bipartisan support it received, and we are grateful that the governor chose to sign Lucia’s Law on this, the third anniversary of her murder,” Lucia’s parents, Jonathan and Meredith Bremer, said in a statement.

MARRIAGE

A marriage license cannot be refused to two people based on their sex, gender or race. The law states that Virginia recognizes all such marriages. While a proposed constitutional amendment was pushed to 2025, this legislative solution attempts to solidify same-sex marriage protections currently guaranteed by the U.S. Supreme Court. The law also allows religious groups and clergy the right to perform the marriage, which Youngkin cited in his signing of the legislation. Another, unrelated law sets the legal age of marriage at 18 years old and repeals the ability for a minor to be emancipated from their parents or guardians because they intend to get married.

NO CASINO

Richmond has been removed as an eligible host city for casino gaming establishments. Another new law mandates a three-year gap between a failed casino referendum and a new vote.

ONLINE LEGAL NOTICES

An ordinance, resolution, notice or advertisement can now be posted by certain online news sources to fulfill the legal requirement that they be published in a newspaper.

PROTECTIVE ORDERS

A person who violates a protective order can be tried where the victim lived at the time of the crime.

QUITCLAIM

Land owned by the Department of Conservation and Recreation can now be used for the long-anticipated Biscuit Run Park near Charlottesville. The 1,190-acre Albemarle County park is on track to open in October.

ROADKILL

Anyone who comes across a deer, bear, turkey or elk that looks like it was killed in a collision with a motor vehicle will be allowed to claim it. Previously, only drivers who had actually hit a deer or a bear could claim that animal.

SPECIALTY PLATES

Drivers can celebrate the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution with a specialty license plate. Active duty or honorably discharged members of the U.S. Air Force can also receive a plate with the branch’s emblem.

TRAFFICKING

The offenses of abduction and receiving money for procuring a person are expanded to more easily prosecute human traffickers. Victims will also be able to seek damages.

UTILITY WORK DATABASE

By Jan. 1, 2025, the Department of Transportation must establish and maintain a publicly accessible database and map of all approved utility work that will occur within a right-of-way in a residential neighborhood.

VIRGINIA VERIFIED MEAT

Products cannot be labeled as “Virginia Verified Meat” unless the cattle, goats, sheep or swine were bred, born, raised and processed in the commonwealth. The law also stipulates who can certify the product outside of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

WESTERN HONEYBEE

Apis mellifera (also known as the European honeybee) is named Virginia’s state pollinator.

XYLAZINE

Also known as “tranq,” the veterinary tranquilizer has been linked to overdose deaths nationwide, particularly in combination with fentanyl, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Felony and misdemeanor punishments have been added for crimes related to human consumption.

YOUTHS

Incoming eighth graders in Petersburg and Roanoke public schools will be able to join the Community Builders Pilot Program, which will create after-school and summertime programs designed to reduce gun violence and increase community engagement, workforce development, postsecondary education exploration and social-emotional skills.

ZONING

Localities can let child day care programs operate within an office building by waiving zoning permit rules through an ordinance.

 

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