2019 Virginia New Laws Update

Below are several of the new laws that went into effect on July 1, 2019 in Virginia.  Of particular interest are the following:

Parking for Disabled

HB 2805 (LaRock)
• Prohibits parking any vehicle in any striped
access aisle adjacent to a parking space reserved
for persons with disabilities.
• Punishable by a fine of $100-$500.
• Virginia Code §46.2-1242

Hands-free Driving;Highway Work Zone

SB 1768 (Mason)
• Prohibits any person from holding a phone or
personal communications device in their hand
while driving in a highway work zone.
• Imposes a mandatory $250 fine.
• If not in a highway work zone, a driver can hold
the phone in their hand but can’t read or write
emails or texts, as provided in current law.
• Virginia Code §46.2-1078.1

Permissible Fireworks;Definition

SB 1625 (McPike)
Changes definition of permissible fireworks to:
• Fountains that do not emit more than 16.4 feet;
• Wheels that do not emit more than 39 inches;
• Crackling devices/flashers/strobes that do not emit more
than 78.74 inches;
• Sparkling devices that do not 1) explode, 2) travel under
their own power, 3) produce a projectile, 4) produce a
flame more than 20”, 5) reload, 6) have a specified fuse

Threats to Healthcare Worker

SB 1395 (Howell)
• Class 1 misdemeanor to orally threaten to kill or
injure health care worker engaged in their
duties.
• Exception for patients who are at medical facility
under an ECO, involuntary TDO, or involuntary
hospitalization order.
• Virginia Code § 18.2-60

Drones; Trespass; Prohibited Take Off and Landing

HB 1636 (Knight)
• Adds a Class 1 misdemeanor to the drone trespass
statute:
– To knowingly & intentionally take off or land a drone
in violation of FAA or UAS Security Sensitive Airspace
restrictions.
• Addresses take off and landing but not flying the drone
because Virginia doesn’t have jurisdiction over airspace.
• This behavior already is a felony in violation of federal
law but the Feds do not enforce it. Needed a local
solution.
• Virginia Code §18.2-121.3

Drug Control Act; Schedule V;Gabapentin

HB 2557 (Pillion)
• Classifies gabapentin as a Schedule V
controlled substance.
• Virginia Code § 54.1-3454 (3)

Cigarettes, E-Cigs & Vapes–Increase Age to 21

HB 2748 (Stolle)/SB 1727 (Norment)
• Raises the age to buy or possess tobacco,
nicotine vapor and alternative nicotine products
from 18 to 21.
– Provides an exception for active duty military 18
or older.
• Adds “nicotine vapor products, and alternative
nicotine products” to the restricted vending
machine rules.
• Virginia Code §§18.2-246.8, 18.2-246.10,18.2

Restoration of Firearm Rights;Report to State Police

HB 2548 (Rush)
• Requires Circuit Court to forward Court’s order
granting felons restoration of firearms rights to VSP
for inclusion in Central Criminal Records Exchange
(CCRE).
• Purpose: To ensure that law enforcement has the
information when they encounter people who have
had their rights restored.
• Delayed effective date of January 1, 2021.
• Virginia Code §§18.2-308.09, 18.2-308.2

Child Day Programs;Fingerprint Background Checks

SB 1407 (Mason)
• Allows local law enforcement to submit requests
for national fingerprint background checks for
employees and volunteers at child day programs
operated by local governments.
• Delayed effective date of July 1, 2020.
• Virginia Code §§ 63.2-1720.1, 63.2-1721.1

Jails:  Mental Health Treatment

HB 1942 (Bell)
• The State Board of Corrections will create
minimum standards for behavioral health
services.
• Correctional facilities will have access to more
mental health and medical records.
• This comprehensive measure was passed in
response to death of Jamycheal Mitchell in
Hampton Roads Regional Jail.
• Virginia Code §§53.1-40.10, 53.1-68, 53.1-133.03

Special ID Cards without Photographs

HB 2441 (Wilt)
• Requires DMV to issue an ID card without a photo to a
person with a sincerely held religious belief prohibiting
the taking of their photograph.
• This special ID must be similar in design to a driver’s
license, but clearly distinguishable. It must state that:
– It does not authorize driving.
– It cannot be used as ID to vote.
– Federal limits apply.
• Class 2 misdemeanor to commit fraud in applying; Class
4 felony to obtain special ID for purpose of committing a
felony.
• Virginia Code §§ 46.2-345, 46.2-345.2

Expired Registration Summons,Dismissal upon Compliance

HB 1712 (Herring)/SB 1383 (McDougle)
• Allows dismissal of charges for expired
registration under § 46.2-646 when proof of
compliance with the section is provided to the
court.
• Recommendation of the Committee on District
Courts.
• Virginia Code §§16.2-69.48:1, 46.2-646

Move-over Law

HB 1911 (Peace)
• Changes 1st offense violation of the “move-over” law
from a fine of up to $250 to Class 1 misdemeanor
Reckless Driving.
– Previously, only a 2nd or subsequent offense was a
Class 1 misdemeanor.
• Moves the offense from §46.2-921.1 to §46.2-861.1 by
repealing §46.2-921.1 and creating §46.2-861.1.
– The law was moved to Chapter 8, Article 7 in § 46.2
in order to allow improper driving to be a lesser
included offense for less culpable conduct.
• Virginia Code §46.2-861.1

We hope our reporting of the 2019 new Virginia laws has been helpful.  Ritchie Law Firm is a personal injury law firm devoted to helping individuals who have suffered serious and catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligence. Ritchie Law Firm serves all of Virginia, while helping clients in cities and surrounding areas of Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, Staunton, and Winchester also serves clients in West Virginia, including Martinsburg, WV.

If you or a loved one suffered significant injuries in a car accident in Virginia, Ritchie Law Firm is here to help.  The experienced, certified attorneys at the Ritchie Law Firm has helped thousands of injured victims and their families recover the compensation they deserve after an accident. Contact us by phone at 800-277-6124 or by using our online contact form.