Virginia’s new laws
It was a busy legislative session at the State Capitol, and while all the debate is over and the bills have been passed, most of the new laws don’t go into effect until July 1st.
July 1st is right around the corner so here is a very abbreviated list of some of these new laws, particularly ones that could impact your day-to-day life.
(h/t to the incredibly handy RichmondSunlight.org website for their easy to use search mechanism. Richmond Sunlight is run by the Virginia Interfaith Center)
*DUI- if a bus driver possess or consume alcoholic beverages while operating a school bus that’s transporting children, they are guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
*Seat belts- Virginians age 17 and younger who ride in the back seat of a vehicle must wear a seat belt starting July 1, and violators face a $25 fine.
*Golf carts- golf carts may cross highways in certain circumstances. Golf cart owners in towns with a population of 2,000 or less may cross a highway at an intersection that is marked as a golf cart crossing with signs. The roadway’s speed limit must be 35 miles per hour or less, and the crossing has to be the only way the golf cart may travel from one part of the town to another.
*Concussions- Requires the Board of Education to develop and distribute to local school divisions guidelines for policies dealing with concussions in student-athletes
*Excused absences for holidays- Provides that any student’s absence because of the observance of a religious holiday must be recorded as excused on the student’s attendance record and that no student may be deprived of any award or of eligibility or opportunity to compete for any award or of the right to take an alternate test or examination, for any which he missed because of such absence.
*Guns in restaurants- Allows a person with a concealed handgun permit to carry a concealed handgun onto the premises of a restaurant or club and prohibits such person from consuming alcoholic beverages while on the premises.
*Bingo- Limits the number of bingo games per session to no more than 50.
*Communication- requires the Tax Commissioner to devise a method by which a taxpayer who files a state tax return, statement or document electronically, may decline to receive bulletins, publications, or other information provided by the Department electronically.
*Public meetings- Prohibits any public body from conducting a meeting required to be open in any building or facility where any recording devices are prohibited.
*Unsolicited commercial electronic mail- Narrows the scope of the existing spam statute to cover only those emails that constitute unsolicited commercial electronic mail (spam).
*Absentee ballots- expands scope of persons defined as members of voter’s immediate family.
-Increases the deadline for each electoral board to make absentee ballots available
*Jury notification- Virginia law and allows judges to notify juries of the proper instructions for a finding of a sentence of death or life imprisonment.
*Expands who can get charged- expands the death penalty by allowing the death sentence to be imposed for the murder of auxiliary law-enforcement officers, fire marshals and EMS personnel.
This is by no means the complete list, so if I missed something you think is important let me know and we will add it to the list!