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New Laws in Virginia Effective July 1, 2022 and Highlights of Other Proposed Bills

June 30, 2022

Unlike last year when one party controlled the Senate, House and Governorship, bi-partisan agreement was required for any bill to be passed into law this year. Virginia has over 700 new laws. 841 bills were sent to the Governor. The ones not approved by the Governor were either vetoed or sent back for more study. Most new laws take effect on July 1, 2022.

This summary offers a highlight of some of the new laws and a brief list of bills that were proposed but haven’t been passed into law. They have been grouped for easy reference. If you have special interest in any law, you can read the full text by searching the bill number or consult an attorney for applicability to your circumstances.

NEW VIRGINIA LAWS EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2022

BALANCE OF POWER--LIMITATION ON GUBERNATORIAL AUTHORITY

Any executive order issued by the Governor pursuant to his powers under the Emergency Services and Disaster Law is limited to 45 days from the date of issuance. If the General Assembly does not take action on the rule, regulation, or order within the 45 days, the Governor is prohibited from issuing or extending the same or a similar regulation related to the same emergency. This significantly shortens the previous time limit which was until June 30 following the next regular session of the General Assembly. (HB 158/S B4)

CANNABIS

This law removes the Board of Pharmacy patient registration requirement for medical cannabis which also eliminates the wait to receive a license from the board and avoids the $50 application fee. The patient must still get written certification from a health care provided for medical cannabis. (HB 933/SB 671)

CONSUMER LAW

The Virginia Consumer Protection Act is expanded to require that suppliers of automatic renewals or continuous service offers using online websites must make available a conspicuous online option to cancel. (HB 78)

CORRECTIONS FACILITIES

The Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security is directed to convene a work group to study inmate work release programs. The report must be completed and submitted to the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security and Chairmen of House Committee for Courts of Justice, House Committee on Public Safety, Senate Committee on Rehabilitation and Social Services, and Senate Committee on the Judiciary by December 1, 2022. (HB 170)

The authority for the Department of Juvenile Justice to establish Juvenile Boot Camps and the ability of a court to order a juvenile adjudicated delinquent to attend such a boot camp is eliminated. (HB 228/SB5 46)

CRIMINAL

There is now a ban on police and sheriff’s departments requiring a specific number of tickets and arrests from their officers. Further, the number of tickets/summons issued may not be used as the sole criteria for reviewing law-enforcement job performance. (SB 327)

Willfully breaking or removing any part of a vehicle, aircraft, boat, or vessel to prevent its operation and specifically removing a catalytic converter is a Class 6 felony. Scrap metal purchasers are required to maintain records of purchases of catalytic converters for two years. (HB 740/ SB 729)

It is a Class 1 misdemeanor for an agent to use a Power of Attorney to financially exploit an incapacitated adult. Upon conviction, the agent’s authority terminates. (HB 497/SB 124)

A magistrate must transmit within 24 hours a copy of the checklist for bail determination to the Commonwealth Attorney for a person arrested on a warrant or capias for an act of violence. (HB 756/SB 614)

A new law creates a four-level earned credit system that allows incarcerated felons to reduce their sentences up to 15 days for every 30 days served. The bill also allows parole boards to consider early release for terminally ill felons if their offenses were not one of the exceptions to eligibility. (SB 5034)

EDUCATION & SCHOOLS

Effective March 1st, 2022, public schools are required to offer in-person learning for at least the minimum number of required annual instructional hours. Parents may elect for their child to not wear a mask while at school and are not required to state a reason for the choice.  This law does not override the governor’s authority regarding emergency services and disaster law in response to a communicable disease of public health. (HB 1272/SB 739)

The Virginia Board of Education must develop policies by July 31, 2022 that will ensure “parental notification of any instructional material that includes sexually explicit content. Local school boards must adopt policies by January 1, 2023 providing for parental notification if books or other assigned materials contain sexually explicit content and provide an alternative option.” (SB 656) 

The Board of Education’s licensure regulations must provide for licensure by reciprocity for any spouse of an active duty or reserve member of the Armed Forces who has obtained a valid out-of-state license.  The bill requires the applicant to submit an official copy of the military permanent assignment orders of the spouse as part of the application process. Notice of acceptance must be made within 15 business days of receipt of the complete application packet. (HB 230/SB 154) 

James Madison University (JMU) and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VA Tech) are authorized to issue bonds up to $100,869,000 for revenue-producing capital projects. (HB 165)

School principals must report certain misdemeanor offenses to police and to the parents. This is a change from the previous requirement to report only felonies and primarily focuses on threats of violent acts. (HB 4/SB 36)

The School Health Services Committee was established to review and provide advice to the General Assembly and other policy makers regarding proposals that require local school boards to offer certain health services at school. The report must be submitted by October of each year. The bill expires on July 1, 2025. (HB 215/SB 62)

This bill requires that schools have detailed safety audit plans. (HB 741) 

ELECTIONS

The Department of Elections must establish standards for ascertaining and reporting absentee ballots. General registrars must report the number and results of absentee ballots. (SB 3)

The State Registrar of Vital Records must transmit to the Department of Elections a weekly list of decedents which will be used to maintain the list of qualified voters. (HB 55/SB 211)

Sponsors who violate political campaign advertisement disclosure laws with advertisements or campaign telephone calls are subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $25,000. (HB 125)

State and local elections officials are prohibited from accepting certain gifts and funding by a private individual or nongovernmental entity for the purpose of funding voter education and outreach programs. (HB 205)

FOOD/ALCOHOL

Sales of to-go cocktails and alcohol for consumption off premises has been extended until 2024. (HB 426/SB 254)

The Commonwealth is authorized to issue a new mixed beverage casino license which will include allowing gifts of alcoholic beverages to customers. (HB 455)

The amount of alcohol someone can bring into Virginia from another state has increased from one gallon to three gallons. (SB 325)

HEALTHCARE

Physician Assistants appointed as medical examiners no longer need to be part of a patient care team. For hospice program licensing, the bill adds physician assistants to hospice personnel who may be part of a medically directed interdisciplinary team. The bill also permits physician assistants working in the field of orthopedics as part of a patient care team to utilize fluoroscopy for guidance of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. (HB 145)

The requirement that a prescriber registered with the Prescription Monitoring Program request information about a patient from the Program upon initiating a new course of treatment including opioids for more than seven consecutive days has been extended for five years. (HB 192)

Certain chemicals have been added to the Drug Control Act by the Board of Pharmacy through an expedited regulatory process.  Substances added via this process will be removed from the schedule after 18 months unless a general law is enacted adding the substance to the schedule.  (HB 193/SB 759)

The Board of Optometry must establish criteria for certification to perform permitted laser surgeries and require optometrists to register annually with the Board to report disciplinary action and malpractice matters. If duly certified by the Board, optometrists may perform certain types of laser surgery of the eye. (HB 213/SB 375) 

Volunteer audiologists who hold an unrestricted license in another state may volunteer to provide free health care to an underserved area of the Commonwealth under the auspices of a publicly supported nonprofit organization for not more than three consecutive days. (HB 84)

The Secretary of Health and Human Resources must undertake a study of oversight and regulation of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other congregate living settings under a single state agency to improve efficiency and effectiveness of regulation and oversight to provide better transparency for members of the public. (HB 234)

A nurse practitioner who does not prescribe controlled substances or devices may practice in his/her category in which he/her is certified and licensed without a written practice agreement. A nurse practitioner who prescribes controlled substances or devices must do so in consult with a licensed physician. (HB 285)

An autonomous nurse practitioner may declare death and determine cause of death. This bill eliminates the requirement for a valid Do Not Resuscitate Order for the deceased patient. (HB 286)

Home care organizations’ licensure renewal requirement has been increased from annually to every three years. The Department of Health may not require home care organizations to submit financial documents other than those required for initial licensure. (HB 93)

Financial institutions must cooperate with social services in any investigation of alleged adult abuse, neglect, or exploitation conducted by a local department of social services. (HB 95)

MILIARTY, VETERANS & HUNTING 

Hunting on Sunday on both public and private land is permitted as long as it takes place at least 200 yards from a place of worship. (SB 8)

Special hunting and fishing licenses for veterans who have a service-connected disability of at least 30 percent may receive at no cost or a reduced cost depending on the veteran’s disability rating, a lifetime license to hunt and freshwater fish. This is a change from prior law that offered such license at no cost to a veteran who is totally and permanently disabled and at half-cost to a veteran who is 70 percent disabled. (HB 120)

A disabled veteran special license plate may be transferred, upon the death of the disabled veteran, to his/her surviving spouse who has not remarried. (HB 40)

The number of days a member of the armed services, reserves, National Guard, Virginia Defense Force, or National Defense Executive Reserve shall be entitled to paid leave for military duties is increased from 15 to 21. This only applies to individuals employed by the Commonwealth or a subdivision of the Commonwealth. (HB 231)

NATURE 

An additional 37-mile portion of the James River running through Nelson and Appomattox Counties are now added to the Virginia Scenic Rivers System. (HB 49)

This bill provides the right to propagate shellfish by any legal means. (HB 189/SB 509)

RACE

Expiration of the Commission to Study Slavery and Subsequent De Jure and De Facto Racial and Economic Discrimination Against African Americans has been extended from July 1, 2022 to July 1, 2024. (HB 139/SB 151)

Historical African American cemeteries eligible for appropriated preservation funds previously had to be cemeteries before January 1, 1900. That date requirement was previously prior to January 1, 1948. (HB 140/SB 477) 

Governor’s Schools and their board members, directors, administrators, and employees are prohibited from discriminating against any individual or group based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the process of admitting students. Each local school board that controls a Governor’s school must collaborate to ensure that every public middle school that is eligible to send students to the Governor’s school offers coursework, curriculum, and instruction comparable in content and rigor in order to provide each student with an opportunity to gain admission to and excel academically at the Governor’s school. (HB 127)

The Virginia Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Historic Preservation Fund was established for the purpose of awarding grants to eligible state-recognized and federally-recognized Indian tribes, private nonprofit organizations, and localities for the eligible costs of acquiring land or permanent protective interest and undertaking preservation activities on the land that is of cultural or historic significance. (HB 141/SB 158)

REAL PROPERTY

Extension of land use approvals that were valid and outstanding as of July 1, 2020 were previously extended to July 1, 2022 to address the COVID-19 crisis. That extension has now been moved to July 1, 2023. The bill specifically provides that it should not be construed as extending other COVID-19 housing relief programs. (HB 272)

Recovery residences (rehab facilities) are required to be certified by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services and they must comply with minimum square footage requirements related to beds and sleeping rooms. Every person who operates a recovery residence must disclose to potential residents its credentialing entity. The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services must maintain a list of recovery residences on its website. (HB 277/SB 622)

Real Estate licensees (agents/brokers) must disclose ownership interest in any property of discussion. Owners of residential dwellings with actual knowledge of a lis pendens (notice of a lawsuit regarding real property) filed against the dwelling must provide a written disclosure to prospective purchasers. (HB 281/SB 311)

The Real Estate Board must promulgate regulations to require and provide two hours of continuing education on fair housing or appraisal bias. This bill has a delayed effective date of July 1, 2023. (HB 606)

SECOND AMENDMENT/FIREARMS

Penalty for a first violation of carrying a concealed weapon without a permit has been reduced from a Class 1 misdemeanor to a civil penalty of not more than $100. A second violation is reduced from a Class 6 felony to a civil penalty of not more than $500 and a third or subsequent violation from a Class 5 felony to a civil penalty of not more than $1,000. A person charged with these offenses may apply for a permit before their court hearing and, if issued, may present it to a judge so that the court may dismiss the charge. (HB 597)

SEX & HUMAN TRAFFICKING

The Department of Criminal Justice Service shall develop an online course to train hotel proprietors and their employees to recognize and report instances of suspected human trafficking. The online or in-person course will be mandatory for all hotel employees and provided free of charge to them. This bill has a delayed effective date of January 1, 2023. (HB 258)

The Department of Criminal Justice Services must establish training standards for law-enforcement personnel regarding the recognition, prevention, and reporting of human trafficking. (HB 283/SB 467)

VIRGINIA FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (FOIA)  

Local public bodies subject to FOIA must post meeting minutes on their official public government website if any, within seven working days of final approval of the minutes. If there is no website, copies must be made available at a prominent public location. (HB 150)

MISCELLANEOUS

This bill modernizes the DNA data bank sample tracking system by replacing certain references in the Code. (HB 748/SB 150)

This bill terminates the Town of St. Charles in Lee County. (HB 83/SB 589)

The Town of Ivor has been added to the list of towns that may authorize the operation of golf carts and utility vehicles on designated public highways despite not having established its own police departments. (HB 88)

BILLS PROPOSED BUT NOT PASSED INTO LAW

ABORTION

Physicians and authorized nurse practitioners must follow certain procedures to affect a pregnant woman’s informed written consent before performing an abortion. This bill was passed by the House but not the Senate. (HB 212)

Nurse Practitioners are removed from the list of persons who can perform a first trimester abortion.  Any person who performs an abortion with knowledge that the procedure is sought solely due to a genetic disorder, gender, or ethnicity of the unborn child is guilty of a Class 4 felony. This bill was left in committee.  (HB 983)

CANNABIS   

A regulatory and licensing structure for the cultivation, manufacture, retail and wholesale of marijuana market will be established. The process will be administered by the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority. This bill was left in committee. (HB 430)

CRIMINAL

Just a year after the abolishment of capital punishment, this bill would bring back the death penalty for the willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing of a law-enforcement officer. In March 2021 Virginia became the 23rd state (and first Southern state) to abolish the death penalty. The bill remains in committee. (HB 661/ SB 379)

If a person is convicted of involuntary manslaughter of an adult with children as a result of driving a motor vehicle or boat while intoxicated, the guardian of the child/children may petition the court to require the defendant to pay child support as part of the sentencing. This bill was left in committee. This bill was left in committee. (HB 686)

A person selling, giving or distributing a substance that contains two milligrams or more of any mixture containing a detectable amount of fentanyl without the other persons’ knowledge that the substance contains fentanyl is guilty of attempted murder of the second degree. If the recipient dies as a result, the person who sold, gave or distributed it is guilty of murder of the second degree. This bill passed through the House but not the Senate. (HB 1356)

ELECTIONS

A registered voter must provide a reason for being absent or unable to vote at his regular polling place on election day in order to receive an absentee ballot. The permanent absentee voter list is repealed. The limit for absentee voting by someone with a disability or illness is one year. This bill is still in committee in the House. (HB 35)

FOOD/DRINK

Sales tax on food purchased for human consumption and essential personal hygiene products are exempt from sales tax. This bill was passed in the House, rejected in the Senate, and was continued to special session. (HB 90)

MILITARY/VETERANS

Current members of the United States Armed Forces are not required to obtain a concealed handgun permit in order to carry a concealed weapon. This bill is still in the House committee. (HB 417)

SECOND AMENDMENT/FIREARMS

Fees for processing or issuing an application for a resident handgun permit, including any costs for the clerk’s consultation with law-enforcement agencies, have been eliminated. This bill was left in the House committee. (HB 10)

The prohibition on any person who is not a licensed firearms dealer to purchase more than one handgun in a 30-day period has been removed. This bill was left in the House committee. (HB 14)

The prohibition on the carrying of dangerous weapons in a place of worship without good and sufficient reason while a meeting for religious purposes is being held has been removed. This bill was left in the House committee. (HB 23)

The procedure by which any attorney or law-enforcement officer may apply for an emergency substantial risk order to prohibit a person who poses a substantial risk of injury to himself or others from purchasing, possessing, or transporting a firearm has been repealed. This bill also removes the substantial risk order registry. This bill passed in the House and was left in the Senate committee. (HB 509)

Persons subject to a protective order may continue to possess any firearm while in their home. This bill removes the requirement that a person subject to a protective order must surrender his firearms within 24 hours. The bill was left in the House committee. (HB 1051)

Anyone possessing a firearm in a residence with a minor must store the firearm unloaded in a locked container and store ammunition in a separate locked container. The key or combination to the containers must be inaccessible to minors. This bill was left in the House committee. (HB 590)

PATERNITY & MINOR PROSTITUTION

An alleged father of a child must be informed of his option to request a genetic test prior to being named the father on a birth certificate. A person relieved of paternity who previously paid support pursuant to a child support order in conjunction with the set-aside paternity determination may file an action against the other party for repayment of support paid.  This bill was left in the House committee. (HB 1077)

A minor engaged in prostitution shall not be processed as a delinquent but will be referred to the local department of social services for an assessment and services. This bill was left in the House committee. (HB 413)

Kathryn Byler is a Pender & Coward attorney focusing her practice on real estate, business, guardianships, and estate planning matters.

 

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