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New Laws in Virginia 2023

June 26, 2023

The Virginia Senate and House of Delegates met in January for a short session (45 days instead of 60 days) then again in April for a special session. Currently, the Senate is controlled by Democrats, the House is controlled by Republicans, and Republicans hold the Governor’s office. With the sharing of power between the parties, any proposed bill this year required bi-partisan approval to be passed into law.   

This is a summary of some of the new laws. Unless otherwise noted, the new laws take effect on July 1, 2023.  For the full text and a better understanding of details, search the bill number or contact a lawyer.  


Switchblade knives are removed from the list of concealed weapons prohibited in public. Stiletto knives are added to the list. HB 2298 

A civil cause of action is created against the parent/guardian of a minor in the possession of a firearm who injures or kills a person if there is a preponderance of evidence that the minor came into possession of the firearm because of the failure of the defendant to reasonably secure the weapon. HB2227 

Cannabis and Alcohol 

Employers may not discriminate against an employee for lawful use of cannabis oil pursuant to a valid certification by a healthcare professional. HB1873 

It is a Class 1 misdemeanor to advertise marijuana or related products unless they may be legally sold in the Commonwealth. There are numerous restrictions on marijuana advertisements of products that may be legally sold including prohibition from targeting minors, being placed near schools, playgrounds, and certain other places, being displayed at a sporting event or on a billboard, being misleading, deceptive, or false, referencing the intoxicating effects of marijuana, and promoting overconsumption or consumption by minors. HB 2428 

Product packaging, labeling, and testing requirements for products containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) have been established. A civil penalty of up to $1,000 may be imposed for certain violations. Laboratories that test hemp products consumed orally or by inhalation must register with the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Anyone who manufactures an industrial hemp extract or food containing industrial hemp extract must obtain a permit from the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services. A civil penalty of up to $10,000 may be imposed for a violation. SB 903 

An injured party has a cause of action against an alcoholic beverage control retail licensee that sells alcohol to an impaired customer who subsequently injures another by driving while impaired. SB 1113 

Similarly, an injured party has a cause of action against an alcoholic beverage control retail licensee who sells alcohol to an underage person who was visibly intoxicated for damage to person or property. SB 1226 

A cause of wrongful death is created against anyone operating a watercraft while intoxicated that results in the death of a parent or guardian of a child. The defendant may be ordered to pay child support. SB 1288 


Licensed athletic trainers under contract with schools are exempt from liability and are authorized to administer albuterol inhalers, valved holding chambers, and nebulized albuterol to students. Further, trainers may possess and administer subcutaneous lidocaine for wound closure and intravenous saline for use in emergency situations. HB 2429 

The law prohibiting criminal threats against healthcare workers has been expanded beyond hospitals and emergency rooms to include clinics and other facilities rendering emergency medical care. HB 1835 

The Statute of Limitation to bring a suit for a medical debt is three years from the original date of service unless the contract is for a payment plan that allows for a longer period. HB 1615 

Midwives shall be allowed to obtain, possess, and administer drugs within the scope of their practice. HB 1511 

The professions of nurse practitioners and licensed certified midwives require licensing by the Board of Nursing only and no longer jointly with the Board of Medicine. SB 1105

Labor and Employment  

No employer may require an employee to execute a nondisclosure or confidentiality agreement that conceals details of a sexual harassment claim. An agreement of this nature would be against public policy and is void and unenforceable. HB 1895 

The VA Employment Commission must establish and administer a paid family and medical leave program with benefits beginning January 1, 2026, for eligible employees. Funding for the program is provided through premiums assessed to employers and employees beginning in 2025. The benefit is 80 percent of the employee’s average weekly wage with a maximum duration of 12 weeks in any year. HB 2035 

Minimum wage is increased to $9.50 per hour on July 1, 2023. Beginning July 1, 2024, it will increase to $10.50 and on July 1, 2025, it will increase to $11.50. Minimum wage for employees younger than 18 is $9 per hour or the federal minimum wage, whichever is greater. HB 1669 

Employers are prohibited from using an employee’s social security number or any portion of it on an identification badge or access card. This is an effort to avoid identity theft. SB 1040 

Persons with disabilities being paid subminimum wage subject to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and currently excluded from the VA Minimum Wage Act shall remain excluded until July 1, 2030, when the exclusion is eliminated entirely. HB 1924 

Employers of 50 or more employees must provide up to 60 business days of unpaid organ donation leave per year and up to 30 days of unpaid leave for bone marrow donation. SB 1086 

Children 16 years old or older who are registered apprentices may serve in a barbershop or cosmetology salon. SB 1363 

Employers of 100 or more employees must develop, implement, and maintain a workplace violence policy by the end of the year. The bill prohibits retaliation for reporting workplace violence. HB 1616

Employers of 50 or more employees must provide annual interactive training and education regarding sexual harassment and workplace discrimination by the end of the year.  HB 2003 

Employers are prohibited from seeking the wage or salary history of a prospective employee or using it when considering hiring the prospective employee. Employers must provide a candidate with the wage or salary range for the position sought prior to discussing compensation and at any time upon the prospective employee’s request. HB 2023 

Healthcare workers and grocery store workers must be provided paid sick leave. The requirement that employees work on average at least 20 hours per week or 90 hours per month to be eligible for paid sick leave is removed. HB 2087 

DPOR & Real Estate 

VA Department of Professional & Occupational Regulations must offer reciprocity of licensing to holders of licenses from other states with certain conditions. This is commonly known as universal license recognition. HB 2180 

Reports must be prepared and sent to the Virginia House and Senate tracking Writs of Unlawful Detainer and Evictions. A work group has been established to track and study results for one year. HB 1836 

A process by which a judgment lien may be released by a settlement agent has been established when the lien holder does not respond to a written request. The judgment may not have exceeded $25,000 at the time it was granted. This will make it easier for sellers of real property to provide clear title when conveying to a buyer. HB 2184  

Settlement agents and their subsidiaries, affiliates and subcontractors may not charge a fee to a seller who is represented by an attorney without prior written approval. HB1888 

Delinquent real estate taxes may be paid subject to a payment plan between a locality and a landowner over 72 months. This is an expansion of the previous duration of a maximum of 60 months. This bill also allows a property owner, or his heirs, to redeem real estate sold in a judicial sale for up to 365 days. The landowner/heirs would owe the purchaser the amount paid plus the taxes, penalties, interest and other charges and interest at the rate of 6 percent. HB 2110 

The VA Residential Landlord and Tenant Act increases from 15 to 30 days the additional time a landlord must provide a tenant with an itemization of damages when the cost of repair exceeds the security deposit and requires a third-party contractor. A shortage of available contractors prompted this extension. It has a sunset provision in one year. HB 1542 

Instructions for completing a Summons for Unlawful Detainer form must be provided in plain English. HB 1996 

Common Interest Communities with a professional management association may terminate a management contract with an automatic renewal provision by giving 60-day advanced written notice. The management companies have the same right of termination upon proper notice. HB 1519

Energy & Consumerism 

The VA Clean Energy Act sets a goal of 100% clean energy by 2045 and provides policy to achieve that goal. The bill provides for job training and workforce development in this sector.  The Electric Utility Regulation Act includes energy from advanced nuclear technology or hydrogen as clean energy. HB 2197 

Dominion Energy’s profit margin was set at 9.7% for two years. The State Corporation Commission, which oversees electric utilities, will have the authority to set the profit margin at its discretion after that. Dominion’s current profit margin is 9.35%. SB 1321  

The VA Consumer Protection Act requires suppliers of automatic renewals or continuous service with a free trial that lasts more than 30 days to notify the consumer of his/her option to cancel the free trial within 30 days before the end of the trial period to avoid incurring costs. HB 1517 

The VA Community Development Financial Institution Fund, originally created in the 2021 Appropriation Act, is codified for the purpose of providing grants and loans to community development financial institutions and other similar entities. The financing to small businesses, housing development, rehabilitation projects and community revitalization real estate projects in underserved communities has Department of Housing and Community Development oversight. SB 1320

Trials & Appeals 

Compensation for jury duty increases from $30 to $50 per day. HB 2317 

Anyone appealing a final order or judgment of the juvenile court must serve a copy of a notice of appeal upon the opposing party or each counsel of record. HB 1992 

 A competency evaluation report is required to determine whether a defendant charged with certain misdemeanors lacks capacity to stand trial and to identify whether he/she should be evaluated to determine whether he/she meets the criteria for temporary detention, if found to be restorable, or detention for the foreseeable future.  The local community services board has the authority to conduct an evaluation of the defendant and, if appropriate, to file an order for temporary detention. HB 1908 

If the Department for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing cannot procure a qualified interpreter to a party or witness in a civil proceeding when needed, the court may appoint a certified equivalent from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf, Inc. SB 814 

Victims’ Rights and Defendants’ Rights  

The attorney for the Commonwealth in a felony case must inform the victim of the contents of a proposed plea agreement and obtain the victim’s views about the disposition of the case. The victim shall be notified of any proceeding in which a plea will be presented to the court. This changes the previous law that required notification only when the victim requested it. SB 989

When the court determines circumstances require a guardian ad litem (GAL), it may appoint a GAL to represent a minor who is required to testify as a witness in a case. Fees for the GAL shall be paid by the Commonwealth. SB 1033 

A complainant who has been exposed to bodily fluids may request that the person charged with certain offenses be tested for sexually transmitted diseases. If the person charged refuses, a court may order such testing. The results shall not be admissible as evidence in any criminal proceeding. SB 1436

In any case in which an indigent defendant is charged with a Class 1 felony, the court shall appoint two competent attorneys, one of whom shall be a public defender. This law is the result of a recommendation of the Virginia Criminal Justice Conference. HB 2016

Criminal Matters 

The Department of State Police must participate in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Next Generation Identification (NGI) Record of Arrest and Prosecution (Rap) Back Service allowing those agencies and governmental entities that require a fingerprint-based criminal background check and ongoing monitoring to know about arrests and convictions of a criminal offense.  Fingerprint-based background checks are required for licenses to care for children, the disabled, and the elderly. SB 1183  

Correctional facilities must have a defined and publicly available policy and procedure for transitioning an incarcerated person placed in restorative housing. SB 887  

It is a crime to intentionally use a drone to secretly peep or spy into a window, door, or other opening of a residence. This is an expansion of current law that only prohibits a drone entering upon the property of another. HB 1583 

It is a crime to use a drone to drop anything into a correctional facility or to videotape or photograph inmates without consent or authorization. SB 1073 

It is a Class 6 felony for a sexually violent predator to tamper with his/her GPS equipment while on conditional release. SB 973 

It is a Class 6 felony to sell or purchase a catalytic converter that has been detached from a vehicle. HB 2372 

Anyone who threatens in writing (including electronic transmission) to share or not delete upon request a sexually explicit image (nude, semi-nude) of a person or member of their household to force someone to participate in a sex act is guilty of a Class 5 felony. If the intended victim is under 18 and the perpetrator is an adult, the punishment is not less than one and not more than 20 years confinement plus a fine of not more than $100,000. HB 2398

Kathryn Byler is a Pender & Coward attorney focusing her practice on real estate, business, guardianships, and estate planning matters.  Kathryn is an adjunct professor at Regent Law School, a licensed real estate broker and a member of the Virginia Beach Planning Commission.

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