Commentary, Local Commentary

Del. Simon Presents New Virginia Laws as of July 1

On July 1 each year most of the bills passed by the General Assembly during their winter legislative session become law. With the levers of power in Virginia divided between Democrats and Republicans in 2022, citizens won’t see many of the sweeping progressive changes like those we’ve experienced the last two years (things like elimination of the death penalty, local control over firearms restrictions and legalization of marijuana) nor will they see major backsliding on that progress. That said, there are some new laws that went into effect this week that folks may want to take note of.

During the pandemic the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC) loosed its rules on ordering cocktails to go, to allow folks to pick up a mixed drink along with take out food orders. This year Virginia law begins to take that a step further, creating a third-party delivery license that authorizes the

holder to deliver alcoholic beverages purchased by a consumer. The law establishes conditions for the issuance of third-party delivery licenses, imposes eligibility requirements for delivery personnel and sets forth requirements for a delivery to be made by such delivery personnel.

Animal lovers will be happy to know that we’ve added some additional consequences for those who have violated the federal Animal Welfare Act, barring them from selling or importing cats and dogs in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The General Assembly has created a new private right of action, allowing the recipients of unsolicited intimate images by computer or any other electronic means to sue the sender for trespass and make the sender liable for actual damages or $500, whichever is greater, in addition to reasonable attorney’s fees.
Veterans looking to start a business in the Commonwealth may soon find the cost of entry into the marketplace lower, with a new law that directs the Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs and the Secretary of Commerce and Trade, in conjunction with the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity, to examine the waiving of fees associated with permits necessary to establish a small business when it is veteran owned.

If you’ve ever received a speeding ticket near the end of the month for a minor infraction and suspected the officer issuing the ticket had a quota to fill, you’ll probably appreciate a new law that takes effect this week that prohibits (i) any agency of the Commonwealth or director or chief executive of any agency or department employing law enforcement officers, (ii) any sheriff, (iii) any police force, or (iv) the Department of State Police from establishing a formal or informal quota that requires a law-enforcement officer to make a specific number of arrests or issue a specific number of summonses within a designated period of time.

Beginning with the 2022 school year, higher education institutions will require student organizations to provide members with information on the dangers of hazing as well as alcohol consumption and drug use.

Known as Adam’s Law, each institution will also be responsible for reporting violations to local law enforcement.

Student-athletes can now be compensated for the use of their name, image or likeness (NIL) and prohibits higher education institutions from preventing this except in certain circumstances.
Elections officials in Virginia will be required to check the voter rolls against death records more frequently starting this week, on a weekly rather than monthly basis. In addition, anyone curious about how a political candidate fared in a given neighborhood will have access to better data on that, as absentee ballots must now be allocated by precinct after the election is over, so historical data will show where the votes came from.

Those with nightmares about losing or forgetting virtual currency credentials (the value of these things may rebound some day) a new law permits banks in the Commonwealth to provide virtual currency custody services in a fiduciary or non-fiduciary capacity.

Also, recovery residences must be certified by the Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services to ensure that loved ones who live in such residences are receiving the best possible care and that all regulatory requirements are being met.

Health care practitioners licensed in other states can apply for a 90-day temporary license in Virginia while they complete the Commonwealth’s licensing process.

To help streamline the process and keep up with health care demand, the Board of Medicine is authorized to pursue reciprocity agreements with surrounding states and the District of Columbia.

For environmentalists, localities can now adopt ordinances providing for the planting and placement of trees during the land development process. This means that tree conservation can be a bigger priority in areas with high development.

Issues involving the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) have been far-reaching. Starting July 1, the VEC will have additional required information included in its annual report. As part of a biennial strategy plan, the VEC will develop an unemployment insurance resiliency plan to include specific actions taken when claims increase, to address staffing needs and communications.

The new law requires employers to submit claim-related forms electronically and the Virginia Department of Human Resource Management will lead a multi-agency work group to address staffing strategies and support during emergencies. The VEC’s internal audit division will also review and update online resources related to unemployment compensation.

Delegate Simon represents the 53rd District in the Virginia House of Delegates. He may be emailed at [email protected]