As we prepare to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day, I am happy to share with you the new laws that go into effect in Virginia today.
Each January, 140 representatives of the people (100 delegates and 40 senators) gather in Richmond to propose, debate, and vote on legislation. This year, 1,906 bills were introduced. Of those, 804 were ultimately signed into law. I am pleased that nine of my bills made it to the Governor’s desk. These include:
HB2317 – Jury Duty Pay. Increases the jury duty allowance from $30 to $50 per day.
HB1517 – Automatic Renewals. For any free trial lasting more than 30 days, requires the customer to be notified of their option to cancel the free trial within 30 days of the end of the trial period.
HB1770 – Control of Energy Rates. Strengthens the State Corporation Commission’s ability to review the earnings of electric utilities and to adjust rates paid by customers if they exceed a fair rate of return.
HB1572 – “Swatting.” Makes it a felony to knowingly make a false emergency communication (i.e., 911) that results in serious bodily injury or death. Swatting is the term used when a fake emergency is called into law enforcement with the purpose of eliciting a mass law enforcement response.
HB1682 – Fentanyl/Weapon of Terrorism. Adds any mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of fentanyl to the state definition of “weapon of terrorism.” This increases the penalty for manufacturing and distribution of fentanyl to a Class 4 felony.
HB2330 – Public Transportation Safety. Creates new penalties to protect public transportation drivers who are the victims of assault and/or battery. In addition to other penalties, a conviction includes a ban from public transportation for at least six months.
HB2372 – Catalytic Converters. Creates a presumption that possession of a catalytic converter removed from a vehicle by someone not in the auto repair or salvage business is guilty of theft. The penalty is a Class 6 felony.
HB2298 – Stiletto Knives. Removes switchblade knives and adds stiletto knives to the list of concealed weapons that may not be carried in public.
HB2387 – Firearm Safety Tax Credit. Establishes a $300 tax credit for years 2023 through 2027 for the purchase of firearm safety devices (gun safes, locks, etc.). The total program may not exceed $5 million in any given year.
HB2007 – Freedom of Information Act. Requires public bodies to post fee and pricing information for a Freedom of Information Act request on their website or in a written policy.
HB1446 – Nursing Home Standards. Effective July 1, 2025, establishes nursing staffing requirements for certified nursing facilities and imposes sanctions on facilities that do not comply.
SB1221 – Assisted Living Facilities. Directs the Board of Social Services to establish minimum liability insurance requirements for assisted living facilities.
HB2028 – Guardianships. Requires a guardian to visit an incapacitated person at least three times per year and at least once every 120 days.
HB1602 – Telemedicine. Removes the requirement that a health care provider must maintain a physical presence in Virginia to serve Medicaid patients.
HB2274 – Pharmacist Scope of Practice. Allows pharmacists to initiate treatment and administer controlled substances for group A Streptococcus, influenza, COVID-19, and urinary tract infection.
SB1003 – Hearing Aids for Minors. Requires health insurers to cover the cost of hearing aids and related services for children 18 years or younger when recommended by an otolaryngologist.
HB1895 – Nondisclosure and Sexual Harassment. Prohibits an employer from requiring a nondisclosure or confidentiality agreement with the purpose of concealing the details of a sexual harassment claim.
SB1040 – Social Security Numbers. Prohibits an employer from using an employee’s social security number, or any derivative of, as part of an employee’s identification number or access badge or card.
HB2082 – Rental Keys and Key Codes. Requires large rental property companies (200 units or more) to require any applicant for employment that will have access to keys to go through a pre-employment criminal history records check.
SB1455 – Curfews. Enables the chief law-enforcement officer of a locality to enact a curfew under certain circumstances during a civil disturbance. The curfew may not last longer than 24 hours without approval from the local governing body.
HB2294 – THC in Hemp Products. Limits the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that can be included in a hemp product to 0.3%, with certain exceptions when the amount of CBD is at least 25 times greater than the amount of THC. The law also creates a regulated hemp product retail facility registration process to oversee the new law.
HB2428 – Cannabis Advertising. Prohibits advertising any cannabis product or product containing synthetic THC or similar product that may not be legally sold in Virginia. The law also prohibits advertising from targeting minors, being placed near schools, referencing intoxicating effects, etc.
SB855 – Blue Headlights. Prohibits the use of blue headlights on vehicles.
SB951 – Uninsured Motorists. Effective July 1, 2024, repeals the option to register as an uninsured motorist and to instead pay a fee. All motorists will now be required to obtain insurance.
HB1516 – Towing. Prohibits a towing operator from refusing to allow the owner of a towed vehicle from accessing and recovering personal items without first paying the towing fee.
HB1932 – Move Over on Hazard Lights. Requires drivers to make a lane change or reduce speed when passing stationary vehicles that have activated hazard warning signal flashers, caution signs, or flares.
HB1388 – National Guard Passport. Directs the Department of Conservation and Recreation to establish a program allowing members of the Virginia National Guard to enter state parks without paying a fee.
HB1592 – Bullying. Requires a school to notify the parent of any student who is involved in an alleged bullying incident within 24 hours. Current law only requires notification within five school days.
SB1175 – Virginia Literacy Act. Expands the Virginia Literacy Act in several ways, including requiring each local school board to provide reading intervention services to students who demonstrate substantial deficiencies based on SOL or other screening tests.
HB1592 – Teacher Arrests. Requires state law enforcement agencies to notify school systems within 48 hours of the arrest of a school employee for a felony or a Class 1 misdemeanor.
SB1453 – Defibrillators. Requires the placement of an automated external defibrillator in every public school. Under current law, schools have the option to place defibrillators but are not required to do so.
SB1515 – Pornography Age Verification. Requires pornographic websites (defined as having more than one-third of its content focused on sexual conduct) to implement an age verification system to prevent children under the age of 18 from accessing the site.
HB1948 – Absentee Voting. Removes the witness requirement for absentee ballots and replaces it with providing the last four digits of a social security number and birth year.
Having trouble sleeping at night? There are 770 more bills to go! The Division of Legislative Services 2023 Session Summary provides a complete list of bills introduced by subject area and whether they passed, failed, or were carried over.
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have thoughts or questions. It is an honor to represent you. Have a safe and happy 4th of July!