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Dozens of new laws in Virginia go into effect beginning Saturday, July 1, 2017.

Liquor stores will be able to sell grain alcohol. There are new penalties for peeping-by-drone. And it will be a little bit easier to sell concert tickets. 

Here’s a look at 64 new laws in Virginia, courtesy of the Division of Legislative Services. You can see more info on these items and other legislation in the DLS report “In Due Course.

Noteworthy:

HB 1842. Alcoholic beverage control; neutral grain spirits or alcohol sold at government stores; proof. The law increases from 101 to 151 the proof of neutral grain spirits or alcohol that is without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color that may be sold at government stores.

HB 2350. Use of electronic device to trespass; peeping into dwelling or occupied building; penalty. The law punishes as a Class 1 misdemeanor the use of an electronic device to enter the property of another to secretly or furtively peep or spy or attempt to peep or spy into a dwelling or occupied building located on such property, unless such use occurs pursuant to a lawful criminal investigation.

SB 1060. Female genital mutilation; criminal penalty and civil action. The law makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor for any person to knowingly circumcise, excise, or infibulate the labia major, labia minora, or clitoris of a minor.

HB 1709. School boards; policies and procedures prohibiting bullying; parental notification. The law requires the policies and procedures prohibiting bullying that are contained in each school board’s code of student conduct to direct the principal to notify the parent of any student involved in an alleged incident of bullying of the status of any investigation within five school days of the allegation of bullying.

HB 2290. Driver education programs; instruction concerning traffic stops. The law requires each driver education program in the public school system to include instruction concerning traffic stops, including law-enforcement procedures for traffic stops, appropriate actions to be taken by drivers during traffic stops, and appropriate interactions with law-enforcement officers who initiate traffic stops.

Agriculture

SB 1195. Produce safety; farm inspections; civil penalty. The law prohibits certain farms from violating the federal regulations that set minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables. 

Alcoholic Beverage Control

HB 1743. Alcoholic beverage control; retail on-premises license for nonprofit historic cinema houses. The law creates a new retail on-premises wine and beer license for nonprofit historic cinema houses.

HB 1744/SB 1469. Alcoholic beverage control; disposable containers. The law includes a single original metal can in the list of allowable disposable containers that a beer licensee, a wine and beer licensee, and certain mixed beverage licensees may use to sell alcoholic beverages.

HB 1987/SB 1391. Alcoholic beverage control; new license for certain commercial lifestyle centers (mixed-use commercial developments). The law defines “commercial lifestyle center” and creates a new nonretail license for commercial lifestyle centers.

HB 2029/SB 1448. Alcoholic beverage control; privileges of licensed distillers appointed as agents of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. The law allows a licensed distiller who has been appointed as an agent by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to sell spirits manufactured by the distiller at a site of an event licensed by the Board and conducted for the purpose of featuring and educating the consuming public about spirits products.

SB 1108. Alcoholic beverage control; culinary walking tour permit. The law creates a new permit that allows tour companies guiding individuals for compensation on a culinary walking tour to licensed on-premises retail establishments to collect as one fee from tour participants (i) the licensee’s fee for the food and alcoholic beverages served as part of the tour and (ii) a fee for the culinary walking tour service.

SB 1216. Alcoholic beverage control; availability of food when spirits served. The law directs the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to promulgate regulations that require mixed beverage licensees to have food, cooked or prepared on the licensed premises, available for on-premises consumption until at least 30 minutes prior to an establishment’s closing. 

Civil Law

HB 1941/SB 1413. Immunity of persons; defamation; statements regarding matters of public concern communicated to a third party; statements made at a public hearing. The law adds defamation to the causes of action from which a citizen shall be immune when making statements (i) regarding matters of public concern to a third party or (ii) at a public hearing before the governing body of any locality or other political subdivision, or the boards, commissions, agencies, and authorities thereof, and other governing bodies of any local governmental entity.

HB 2289. Award of life insurance upon divorce or dissolution of marriage. The law provides that where an order for spousal support or separate maintenance has been entered by the court, the court may order a party to maintain an existing life insurance policy, designate the other party as beneficiary, allocate the premium cost of life insurance between the parties, and order the insured party to facilitate the provision of certain information from the insurer to the beneficiary. 

Corporations

HB 2230. Stock corporations; shareholders’ meetings. The law authorizes the board of directors of a stock corporation to determine that any meeting of shareholders not be held at any place and instead be held by means of remote communication if the articles of incorporation or bylaws do not require the meeting to be held at a place.

Criminal Offenses

HB 1921/SB 973. Assault and battery; health care providers; penalty. The law expands the penalty for battery against a health care provider who is engaged in the performance of his duties to apply in hospitals or in emergency rooms on the premises of any clinic or other facility rendering emergency care. Under current law, the penalties only apply to a battery against an emergency health care provider.

HB 2051/SB 1091. Driver’s license; marijuana possession. The law revises the existing provision that a person loses his driver’s license for six months when convicted of or placed on deferred disposition for a drug offense to provide that the provision does not apply to deferred disposition of simple possession of marijuana. The exception applies only to adults; juveniles will still be subject to license suspension.

HB 2064. Assault and battery against a family or household member; eligibility for first offender status. The law precludes a person who has been convicted of any felony defined as an act of violence from being eligible for first offender status for assault and battery against a family or household member unless the attorney for the Commonwealth does not object to the person being placed on first offender status.

HB 2127. Rights of victims of sexual assault; physical evidence recovery kits. The law requires that victims of sexual assault be advised by the investigating law-enforcement agency of their rights regarding physical evidence recovery kits. The law also extends the storage of evidence kits and notification to victims prior to destruction.

HB 2240. Crime victim’s right to nondisclosure of certain information; murder. The law requires that written consent provided by the victim’s next of kin to law enforcement is necessary, if the victim is a minor, before a law-enforcement agency may disclose any information that identifies the victim of a crime that resulted in the victim’s death.

HB 2386/SB 854. Collection of unpaid court fines, etc. The law increases the grace period after which collection activity for unpaid court fines, costs, forfeitures, penalties, and restitution may be commenced from 30 days to 90 days after sentencing or judgment. The law also establishes the requirements for deferred or installment payment agreements that a court must offer a defendant who is unable to pay court-ordered fines, costs, forfeitures, and penalties.

Domestic Animals

HB 2381. Dangerous dogs. In the case of a dog that has bitten a cat or dog, the law requires investigation by an officer for certain exemptions from the definition of “dangerous dog” to apply and removes an exemption for good cause as determined by a court. In the case of a dog that has bitten a person, the law creates an exemption when an investigating officer finds that the injury is minor.

SB 856. Cats and dogs; lifetime licenses. The law authorizes the governing body of a county or city to provide for a lifetime dog or cat license.

Education

HB 1982. Graduation requirements; verified units of credit; satisfactory score on the PreACT or PSAT/NMSQT examination. The law requires the Board of Education, in establishing graduation requirements, to provide for the award of verified units of credit for a satisfactory score, as determined by the Board, on the Preliminary ACT (PreACT) or the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) examination.

Elections/Voting

HB 1431. Voter registration drives; compensation prohibition. The law prohibits any individual or group conducting a voter registration drive from compensating its volunteers or employees on the basis of the number of completed voter registration applications the volunteer or employee collects.

HB 1912. Absentee voting; eligibility of persons granted protective order. The law entitles a person to vote absentee if the person has been granted a protective order issued by or under the authority of any court of competent jurisdiction.

HB 1933. Candidate withdrawal; notice of withdrawal; information to voters. The law provides that a candidate who has qualified to have his name printed on the ballot for an election is not deemed to have withdrawn from such election until he has submitted a signed written notice declaring his intent to withdraw and that notice has been received by the general registrar.

Environment

HB 2383/SB 898. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ); combined sewer overflow (CSO) outfalls; Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The law directs DEQ to identify the owner of any combined sewer overflow outfall that discharges into the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and to determine what actions by the owner, if it is not under a state order, are necessary to bring such an outfall into compliance with Virginia law, the federal Clean Water Act, and the Presumption Approach described in the CSO Control Policy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Firearms

HB 2325. Application for a concealed handgun permit; photo identification. The law requires applicants for a concealed handgun permit to present one valid form of government-issued photo identification issued by a governmental agency of the Commonwealth or by the U.S. Department of Defense or U.S. State Department (passport). The law removes the requirement that the application be made under oath before a notary. 

FOIA

HB 1876. Virginia Freedom of Information Act; public access to library records of minors. The law excludes from mandatory disclosure library records that can be used to identify any library patron under the age of 18 years.

SB 1102. Virginia Freedom of Information Act; completed unattended death investigations; mandatory disclosure. The law requires that records of completed unattended death investigations be released to the parent or spouse of the decedent or, if there is no living parent or spouse, to the most immediate family member of the decedent, provided that the person is not a person of interest or a suspect.

General Laws 

HB 2006/SB 1228. Virginia Fair Housing Law; rights and responsibilities with respect to the use of an assistance animal in a dwelling. The law sets out the rights and responsibilities under the Virginia Fair Housing Law (§ 36-96.1 et seq.) with respect to maintaining an assistance animal in a dwelling.

HB 2217. Address confidentiality program; victims of sexual violence and human trafficking. The law expands the types of crimes victims of which are eligible to apply for the address confidentiality program to include sexual violence.

SB 1113. Board for Contractors; optional bonding for Class A and B contractors. The law allows applicants for Class A and Class B contractor licenses to demonstrate financial responsibility by posting a surety bond for both initial application for licensure and subsequent renewals in lieu of providing a financial statement.

SB 1341. Digital certification of government records. The law provides for the Secretary of the Commonwealth, in cooperation with the Virginia Information Technologies Agency, to develop standards for the use of digital signatures by government agencies on electronic records generated by such agencies.

Health/Health Professions

HB 1467/SB 1323. Board of Health to adopt regulations to include neonatal abstinence syndrome on the list of reportable diseases. The law requires the Board of Health to adopt regulations to include neonatal abstinence syndrome on the list of diseases that shall be required to be reported.

HB 1548/SB 1511. Advance directives; mental health treatment; capacity determinations. The law provides that in cases in which a person has executed an advance directive granting an agent the authority to consent to the person’s admission to a facility for mental health treatment and the advance directive so authorizes, the person’s agent may exercise such authority under certain circumstances.

HB 1688. Practice of chiropractic; certain medical evaluations. The law provides that the practice of chiropractic medicine shall include performing the physical examination of an applicant for a commercial driver’s license or commercial learner’s permit under certain circumstances.

HB 1750. Dispensing of naloxone; patient-specific order not required. The law provides that a pharmacist may dispense naloxone in the absence of a patient-specific prescription pursuant to a standing order issued by the Commissioner of Health authorizing the dispensing of naloxone or other opioid antagonist used for overdose reversal in the absence of an oral or written order for a specific patient issued by a prescriber and in accordance with protocols developed by the Board of Pharmacy in consultation with the Board of Medicine and the Department of Health.

HB 2317. Comprehensive harm reduction program; public health emergency. The law authorizes the Commissioner of Health (the Commissioner) to establish and operate local or regional comprehensive harm reduction programs during a declared public health emergency that include the provision of sterile and disposal of used hypodermic needles and syringes.

Higher Education

HB 1965/SB 1026. Two-Year College Transfer Grant Program; Expected Family Contribution. The law broadens eligibility for the Two-Year College Transfer Grant Program by including students whose Expected Family Contribution, as calculated by the federal government using the family’s financial information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), is no more than $12,000.

SB 1234. Public institutions of higher education; passport credit program. The law requires the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (the Council) and each public institution of higher education to develop a passport credit program that will be offered at each associate-degree-granting public institution of higher education.

SB 1376. Public institutions of higher education; public notice of planned tuition increase. The law prohibits the governing board of a public institution of higher education from approving an increase in undergraduate tuition or mandatory fees without first providing to students and the public a projected range of the planned increase, an explanation of the need for the increase, and notice of the date and location of any vote on the increase at least 30 days prior to such vote.

Historical Preservation

HB 1547. Historical African American cemeteries and graves. The law directs the distribution of funds to qualifying charitable organizations that preserve historical African American cemeteries established before 1900.

Hunting

HB 1939. Hunting apparel; blaze pink. The law allows hunters to wear blaze pink instead of blaze orange hunting apparel when required during firearms deer hunting season or the special season for hunting deer with a muzzle-loading rifle.

HB 2255. State junior bear hunting license; fee. The law creates a junior bear hunting license, separate from the combined big game hunting and junior hunting licenses, for any resident under the age of 16.

SB 968. Hunting license; bear, deer, or turkey; electronic carry. The law removes the requirement that a license to hunt bear, deer, or turkey be carried in paper form, allowing it to be carried by electronic or computerized means.

Insurance

HB 1835. Information about a decedent’s life insurance policy. The law allows a funeral service provider to request, and allows a life insurer to provide, information about a deceased person’s life insurance policy, including the name and contact information of any beneficiaries of record.

Regulation of Commerce

HB 1422/SB 839. Virginia Consumer Protection Act; storm-related repairs. The law provides that it is a prohibited practice under the Virginia Consumer Protection Act for a supplier to engage in fraudulent or improper or dishonest conduct while engaged in a transaction that was initiated (i) during a declared state of emergency or (ii) to repair damage resulting from the event that prompted the declaration of a state of emergency, regardless of whether the supplier is a licensed contractor.

HB 1825/SB 1425. Rights to resell tickets; civil penalty. The law prohibits any person that issues tickets for admission to a professional concert, professional sporting event, or professional theatrical production, open to the public for which tickets are ordinarily sold, from issuing the ticket solely through a delivery method that substantially prevents the ticket purchaser from lawfully reselling the ticket on the Internet ticketing platform of the ticket purchaser’s choice. 

Short-term Rental of Property

SB 1578. Short-term rental of property. The law authorizes a locality to adopt an ordinance requiring the registration of persons offering property for short-term rental.

Social Services

HB 1568/SB 897. Child care providers; criminal history background check; penalty. The law requires that certain individuals undergo a fingerprint-based national criminal history background check.

SB 1008. Criminal history records checks; barrier crimes. The law clarifies the individual crimes that constitute a barrier for (i) individuals seeking employment at nursing homes, home care organizations, hospices, state facilities, and licensed private providers.

Special License Plates

HB 1732. Special license plates; Virginia Nurses Foundation. The law authorizes the issuance of revenue-sharing special license plates for supporters of the Virginia Nurses Foundation.

HB 1763. Special license plates; highway safety. The law authorizes the issuance of special license plates for supporters of highway safety, including awareness of distracted driving.

Taxation

HB 1884. Real property tax exemption; certain surviving spouses. The law authorizes localities to exempt from real property tax the primary residence of the surviving spouse of a law-enforcement officer, a firefighter, search and rescue personnel, or emergency medical services personnel killed in the line of duty.

HB 1913/SB 1390. Purchase of cigarettes for resale; penalties. The bill creates new recordkeeping requirements for the sale or distribution of any quantity of cigarettes in excess of 50 cartons, or with a value greater than $10,000 in any single sale. Other provisions go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

HB 2246/SB 1438. Virginia Tax Amnesty Program. The law establishes the Virginia Tax Amnesty Program to be administered by the Department of Taxation during the 2017-2018 fiscal year for not less than 60 nor more than 75 days, as determined by the Tax Commissioner. The Program will be open to any taxpayer that is required but has failed to file a return or to pay any tax administered by the Department. 

Traffic Offenses

HB 2201. Failure to drive on right side of highways or observe traffic lanes; penalties. The law sets the fine for failing to drive on the right side of highways or failing to observe traffic lanes at $100. Under current law, any such failure is punishable by a fine of no more than $250.

HB 2467. Driving on a suspended or revoked license; period of suspension. The law provides that any driver’s license suspension imposed upon a person for the failure to pay court-ordered fines and costs shall run concurrently with any other period of license suspension, revocation, or forfeiture imposed upon such person.

Transportation

HB 2022. Department of Transportation; traffic incident response and management. The law allows individuals or entities acting on behalf of the Department of Transportation to operate as needed in response to traffic incidents and to access and to remove from moving lanes on a highway vehicles and cargo that are impeding traffic flow due to a traffic incident.

Utilities

HB 2358. Water utilities; temporary and interim rate increases. The law extends the maximum period that the State Corporation Commission is authorized to suspend the implementation of a proposed rate increase from 150 to 180 days.

SB 1492. Water utilities; consolidated ratemaking. The law requires that, in any ratemaking proceeding for certain investor-owned water utilities that are part of a water utility network, the State Corporation Commission shall ensure that equal fixed and volumetric rates are charged for each customer class of every water utility that is in the water utility network. 

Workers’ Compensation

SB 1201. Workers’ compensation; suitably equipped automobile. The law authorizes the Workers’ Compensation Commission to require an employer to provide funds for the purchase of a suitably equipped automobile for an incapacitated employee if it finds that it is medically necessary and that modifications to the employee’s automobile are not technically feasible or will cost more than the funds available for a replacement automobile.

Dozens of new laws in Virginia go into effect beginning Saturday, July 1, 2017.

Liquor stores will be able to sale grain alcohol. There are new penalties for peeping-by-drone. And it will be a little bit easier to sale concert tickets.

 

Here’s a look at 64 new laws in Virginia, courtesy of the Division of Legislative Services. You can see more info on these items and other legislation in the DLS report “In Due Course.

 

Noteworthy:

HB 1842. Alcoholic beverage control; neutral grain spirits or alcohol sold at government stores; proof. The law increases from 101 to 151 the proof of neutral grain spirits or alcohol that is without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color that may be sold at government stores.

HB 2350. Use of electronic device to trespass; peeping into dwelling or occupied building; penalty. The law punishes as a Class 1 misdemeanor the use of an electronic device to enter the property of another to secretly or furtively peep or spy or attempt to peep or spy into a dwelling or occupied building located on such property, unless such use occurs pursuant to a lawful criminal investigation.

SB 1060. Female genital mutilation; criminal penalty and civil action. The law makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor for any person to knowingly circumcise, excise, or infibulate the labia major, labia minora, or clitoris of a minor.

HB 1709. School boards; policies and procedures prohibiting bullying; parental notification. The law requires the policies and procedures prohibiting bullying that are contained in each school board’s code of student conduct to direct the principal to notify the parent of any student involved in an alleged incident of bullying of the status of any investigation within five school days of the allegation of bullying.

HB 2290. Driver education programs; instruction concerning traffic stops. The law requires each driver education program in the public school system to include instruction concerning traffic stops, including law-enforcement procedures for traffic stops, appropriate actions to be taken by drivers during traffic stops, and appropriate interactions with law-enforcement officers who initiate traffic stops.

 

Agriculture

SB 1195. Produce safety; farm inspections; civil penalty. The law prohibits certain farms from violating the federal regulations that set minimum standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of fruits and vegetables.

 

Alcoholic Beverage Control

HB 1743. Alcoholic beverage control; retail on-premises license for nonprofit historic cinema houses. The law creates a new retail on-premises wine and beer license for nonprofit historic cinema houses.

HB 1744/SB 1469. Alcoholic beverage control; disposable containers. The law includes a single original metal can in the list of allowable disposable containers that a beer licensee, a wine and beer licensee, and certain mixed beverage licensees may use to sell alcoholic beverages.

HB 1987/SB 1391. Alcoholic beverage control; new license for certain commercial lifestyle centers (mixed-use commercial developments). The law defines “commercial lifestyle center” and creates a new nonretail license for commercial lifestyle centers.

HB 2029/SB 1448. Alcoholic beverage control; privileges of licensed distillers appointed as agents of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. The law allows a licensed distiller who has been appointed as an agent by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to sell spirits manufactured by the distiller at a site of an event licensed by the Board and conducted for the purpose of featuring and educating the consuming public about spirits products.

SB 1108. Alcoholic beverage control; culinary walking tour permit. The law creates a new permit that allows tour companies guiding individuals for compensation on a culinary walking tour to licensed on-premises retail establishments to collect as one fee from tour participants (i) the licensee’s fee for the food and alcoholic beverages served as part of the tour and (ii) a fee for the culinary walking tour service.

SB 1216. Alcoholic beverage control; availability of food when spirits served. The law directs the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to promulgate regulations that require mixed beverage licensees to have food, cooked or prepared on the licensed premises, available for on-premises consumption until at least 30 minutes prior to an establishment’s closing.

 

Civil Law

HB 1941/SB 1413. Immunity of persons; defamation; statements regarding matters of public concern communicated to a third party; statements made at a public hearing. The law adds defamation to the causes of action from which a citizen shall be immune when making statements (i) regarding matters of public concern to a third party or (ii) at a public hearing before the governing body of any locality or other political subdivision, or the boards, commissions, agencies, and authorities thereof, and other governing bodies of any local governmental entity.

HB 2289. Award of life insurance upon divorce or dissolution of marriage. The law provides that where an order for spousal support or separate maintenance has been entered by the court, the court may order a party to maintain an existing life insurance policy, designate the other party as beneficiary, allocate the premium cost of life insurance between the parties, and order the insured party to facilitate the provision of certain information from the insurer to the beneficiary.

 

Corporations

HB 2230. Stock corporations; shareholders’ meetings. The law authorizes the board of directors of a stock corporation to determine that any meeting of shareholders not be held at any place and instead be held by means of remote communication if the articles of incorporation or bylaws do not require the meeting to be held at a place.

 

Criminal Offenses

HB 1921/SB 973. Assault and battery; health care providers; penalty. The law expands the penalty for battery against a health care provider who is engaged in the performance of his duties to apply in hospitals or in emergency rooms on the premises of any clinic or other facility rendering emergency care. Under current law, the penalties only apply to a battery against an emergency health care provider.

HB 2051/SB 1091. Driver’s license; marijuana possession. The law revises the existing provision that a person loses his driver’s license for six months when convicted of or placed on deferred disposition for a drug offense to provide that the provision does not apply to deferred disposition of simple possession of marijuana. The exception applies only to adults; juveniles will still be subject to license suspension.

HB 2064. Assault and battery against a family or household member; eligibility for first offender status. The law precludes a person who has been convicted of any felony defined as an act of violence from being eligible for first offender status for assault and battery against a family or household member unless the attorney for the Commonwealth does not object to the person being placed on first offender status.

HB 2127. Rights of victims of sexual assault; physical evidence recovery kits. The law requires that victims of sexual assault be advised by the investigating law-enforcement agency of their rights regarding physical evidence recovery kits. The law also extends the storage of evidence kits and notification to victims prior to destruction.

HB 2240. Crime victim’s right to nondisclosure of certain information; murder. The law requires that written consent provided by the victim’s next of kin to law enforcement is necessary, if the victim is a minor, before a law-enforcement agency may disclose any information that identifies the victim of a crime that resulted in the victim’s death.

HB 2386/SB 854. Collection of unpaid court fines, etc. The law increases the grace period after which collection activity for unpaid court fines, costs, forfeitures, penalties, and restitution may be commenced from 30 days to 90 days after sentencing or judgment. The law also establishes the requirements for deferred or installment payment agreements that a court must offer a defendant who is unable to pay court-ordered fines, costs, forfeitures, and penalties.

 

Domestic Animals

HB 2381. Dangerous dogs. In the case of a dog that has bitten a cat or dog, the law requires investigation by an officer for certain exemptions from the definition of “dangerous dog” to apply and removes an exemption for good cause as determined by a court. In the case of a dog that has bitten a person, the law creates an exemption when an investigating officer finds that the injury is minor.

SB 856. Cats and dogs; lifetime licenses. The law authorizes the governing body of a county or city to provide for a lifetime dog or cat license.

 

Education

HB 1982. Graduation requirements; verified units of credit; satisfactory score on the PreACT or PSAT/NMSQT examination. The law requires the Board of Education, in establishing graduation requirements, to provide for the award of verified units of credit for a satisfactory score, as determined by the Board, on the Preliminary ACT (PreACT) or the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) examination.

 

Elections/Voting

HB 1431. Voter registration drives; compensation prohibition. The law prohibits any individual or group conducting a voter registration drive from compensating its volunteers or employees on the basis of the number of completed voter registration applications the volunteer or employee collects.

HB 1912. Absentee voting; eligibility of persons granted protective order. The law entitles a person to vote absentee if the person has been granted a protective order issued by or under the authority of any court of competent jurisdiction.

HB 1933. Candidate withdrawal; notice of withdrawal; information to voters. The law provides that a candidate who has qualified to have his name printed on the ballot for an election is not deemed to have withdrawn from such election until he has submitted a signed written notice declaring his intent to withdraw and that notice has been received by the general registrar.

 

Environment

HB 2383/SB 898. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ); combined sewer overflow (CSO) outfalls; Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The law directs DEQ to identify the owner of any combined sewer overflow outfall that discharges into the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and to determine what actions by the owner, if it is not under a state order, are necessary to bring such an outfall into compliance with Virginia law, the federal Clean Water Act, and the Presumption Approach described in the CSO Control Policy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

 

Firearms

HB 2325. Application for a concealed handgun permit; photo identification. The law requires applicants for a concealed handgun permit to present one valid form of government-issued photo identification issued by a governmental agency of the Commonwealth or by the U.S. Department of Defense or U.S. State Department (passport). The law removes the requirement that the application be made under oath before a notary.

 

FOIA

HB 1876. Virginia Freedom of Information Act; public access to library records of minors. The law excludes from mandatory disclosure library records that can be used to identify any library patron under the age of 18 years.

SB 1102. Virginia Freedom of Information Act; completed unattended death investigations; mandatory disclosure. The law requires that records of completed unattended death investigations be released to the parent or spouse of the decedent or, if there is no living parent or spouse, to the most immediate family member of the decedent, provided that the person is not a person of interest or a suspect.

 

General Laws
HB 2006/SB 1228. Virginia Fair Housing Law; rights and responsibilities with respect to the use of an assistance animal in a dwelling. The law sets out the rights and responsibilities under the Virginia Fair Housing Law (§ 36-96.1 et seq.) with respect to maintaining an assistance animal in a dwelling.

HB 2217. Address confidentiality program; victims of sexual violence and human trafficking. The law expands the types of crimes victims of which are eligible to apply for the address confidentiality program to include sexual violence.

SB 1113. Board for Contractors; optional bonding for Class A and B contractors. The law allows applicants for Class A and Class B contractor licenses to demonstrate financial responsibility by posting a surety bond for both initial application for licensure and subsequent renewals in lieu of providing a financial statement.

SB 1341. Digital certification of government records. The law provides for the Secretary of the Commonwealth, in cooperation with the Virginia Information Technologies Agency, to develop standards for the use of digital signatures by government agencies on electronic records generated by such agencies.

 

Health/Health Professions

HB 1467/SB 1323. Board of Health to adopt regulations to include neonatal abstinence syndrome on the list of reportable diseases. The law requires the Board of Health to adopt regulations to include neonatal abstinence syndrome on the list of diseases that shall be required to be reported.

HB 1548/SB 1511. Advance directives; mental health treatment; capacity determinations. The law provides that in cases in which a person has executed an advance directive granting an agent the authority to consent to the person’s admission to a facility for mental health treatment and the advance directive so authorizes, the person’s agent may exercise such authority under certain circumstances.

HB 1688. Practice of chiropractic; certain medical evaluations. The law provides that the practice of chiropractic medicine shall include performing the physical examination of an applicant for a commercial driver’s license or commercial learner’s permit under certain circumstances.

HB 1750. Dispensing of naloxone; patient-specific order not required. The law provides that a pharmacist may dispense naloxone in the absence of a patient-specific prescription pursuant to a standing order issued by the Commissioner of Health authorizing the dispensing of naloxone or other opioid antagonist used for overdose reversal in the absence of an oral or written order for a specific patient issued by a prescriber and in accordance with protocols developed by the Board of Pharmacy in consultation with the Board of Medicine and the Department of Health.

HB 2317. Comprehensive harm reduction program; public health emergency. The law authorizes the Commissioner of Health (the Commissioner) to establish and operate local or regional comprehensive harm reduction programs during a declared public health emergency that include the provision of sterile and disposal of used hypodermic needles and syringes.

 

Higher Education

HB 1965/SB 1026. Two-Year College Transfer Grant Program; Expected Family Contribution. The law broadens eligibility for the Two-Year College Transfer Grant Program by including students whose Expected Family Contribution, as calculated by the federal government using the family’s financial information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), is no more than $12,000.

SB 1234. Public institutions of higher education; passport credit program. The law requires the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (the Council) and each public institution of higher education to develop a passport credit program that will be offered at each associate-degree-granting public institution of higher education.

SB 1376. Public institutions of higher education; public notice of planned tuition increase. The law prohibits the governing board of a public institution of higher education from approving an increase in undergraduate tuition or mandatory fees without first providing to students and the public a projected range of the planned increase, an explanation of the need for the increase, and notice of the date and location of any vote on the increase at least 30 days prior to such vote.

 

Historical Preservation

HB 1547. Historical African American cemeteries and graves. The law directs the distribution of funds to qualifying charitable organizations that preserve historical African American cemeteries established before 1900.

 

Hunting

HB 1939. Hunting apparel; blaze pink. The law allows hunters to wear blaze pink instead of blaze orange hunting apparel when required during firearms deer hunting season or the special season for hunting deer with a muzzle-loading rifle.

HB 2255. State junior bear hunting license; fee. The law creates a junior bear hunting license, separate from the combined big game hunting and junior hunting licenses, for any resident under the age of 16.

SB 968. Hunting license; bear, deer, or turkey; electronic carry. The law removes the requirement that a license to hunt bear, deer, or turkey be carried in paper form, allowing it to be carried by electronic or computerized means.

 

Insurance

HB 1835. Information about a decedent’s life insurance policy. The law allows a funeral service provider to request, and allows a life insurer to provide, information about a deceased person’s life insurance policy, including the name and contact information of any beneficiaries of record.

 

Regulation of Commerce

HB 1422/SB 839. Virginia Consumer Protection Act; storm-related repairs. The law provides that it is a prohibited practice under the Virginia Consumer Protection Act for a supplier to engage in fraudulent or improper or dishonest conduct while engaged in a transaction that was initiated (i) during a declared state of emergency or (ii) to repair damage resulting from the event that prompted the declaration of a state of emergency, regardless of whether the supplier is a licensed contractor.

HB 1825/SB 1425. Rights to resell tickets; civil penalty. The law prohibits any person that issues tickets for admission to a professional concert, professional sporting event, or professional theatrical production, open to the public for which tickets are ordinarily sold, from issuing the ticket solely through a delivery method that substantially prevents the ticket purchaser from lawfully reselling the ticket on the Internet ticketing platform of the ticket purchaser’s choice.

 

Short-term Rental of Property

SB 1578. Short-term rental of property. The law authorizes a locality to adopt an ordinance requiring the registration of persons offering property for short-term rental.

 

Social Services

HB 1568/SB 897. Child care providers; criminal history background check; penalty. The law requires that certain individuals undergo a fingerprint-based national criminal history background check.

SB 1008. Criminal history records checks; barrier crimes. The law clarifies the individual crimes that constitute a barrier for (i) individuals seeking employment at nursing homes, home care organizations, hospices, state facilities, and licensed private providers.

 

Special License Plates

HB 1732. Special license plates; Virginia Nurses Foundation. The law authorizes the issuance of revenue-sharing special license plates for supporters of the Virginia Nurses Foundation.

HB 1763. Special license plates; highway safety. The law authorizes the issuance of special license plates for supporters of highway safety, including awareness of distracted driving.

 

Taxation

HB 1884. Real property tax exemption; certain surviving spouses. The law authorizes localities to exempt from real property tax the primary residence of the surviving spouse of a law-enforcement officer, a firefighter, search and rescue personnel, or emergency medical services personnel killed in the line of duty.

HB 1913/SB 1390. Purchase of cigarettes for resale; penalties. The bill creates new recordkeeping requirements for the sale or distribution of any quantity of cigarettes in excess of 50 cartons, or with a value greater than $10,000 in any single sale. Other provisions go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

HB 2246/SB 1438. Virginia Tax Amnesty Program. The law establishes the Virginia Tax Amnesty Program to be administered by the Department of Taxation during the 2017-2018 fiscal year for not less than 60 nor more than 75 days, as determined by the Tax Commissioner. The Program will be open to any taxpayer that is required but has failed to file a return or to pay any tax administered by the Department.

 

Traffic Offenses

HB 2201. Failure to drive on right side of highways or observe traffic lanes; penalties. The law sets the fine for failing to drive on the right side of highways or failing to observe traffic lanes at $100. Under current law, any such failure is punishable by a fine of no more than $250.

HB 2467. Driving on a suspended or revoked license; period of suspension. The law provides that any driver’s license suspension imposed upon a person for the failure to pay court-ordered fines and costs shall run concurrently with any other period of license suspension, revocation, or forfeiture imposed upon such person.

 

Transportation

HB 2022. Department of Transportation; traffic incident response and management. The law allows individuals or entities acting on behalf of the Department of Transportation to operate as needed in response to traffic incidents and to access and to remove from moving lanes on a highway vehicles and cargo that are impeding traffic flow due to a traffic incident.

 

Utilities

HB 2358. Water utilities; temporary and interim rate increases. The law extends the maximum period that the State Corporation Commission is authorized to suspend the implementation of a proposed rate increase from 150 to 180 days.

SB 1492. Water utilities; consolidated ratemaking. The law requires that, in any ratemaking proceeding for certain investor-owned water utilities that are part of a water utility network, the State Corporation Commission shall ensure that equal fixed and volumetric rates are charged for each customer class of every water utility that is in the water utility network.

 

Workers’ Compensation

SB 1201. Workers’ compensation; suitably equipped automobile. The law authorizes the Workers’ Compensation Commission to require an employer to provide funds for the purchase of a suitably equipped automobile for an incapacitated employee if it finds that it is medically necessary and that modifications to the employee’s automobile are not technically feasible or will cost more than the funds available for a replacement automobile.

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