2021 Virginia New Laws Update

Beginning July 1, 2021, the following new laws will go into effect in Virginia:

July 1, 2021

Alcohol Sales

The Virginia General Assembly will allow sales of to-go cocktails and sales of alcohol for consumption off premises for an extended period of time.

Balloon Releases

The new law banning balloon releases goes into effect July 1, 2021 and will carry a possible $25 fine.

Marijuana

Adults 21 and over will be allowed to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and use cannabis in private on July 1. 

Littering

The minimum fine for littering in Virginia will double on July 1, going from $250 to $500.

Death Penalty

The Virginia General Assembly approved legislation earlier this year to end capital punishment.  This officially goes into effect July 1.

Education

Beginning July 1, 2021, all local public school districts must offer in-person instruction

Games Ban

Beginning July 1st, all slot machine type games found in convenience stores and sometimes referred to as “skill games” will not be permitted.

 Firearms

Anyone convicted of assault and battery of a family or household member, can’t purchase, possess, or transport a firearm.

Also, a new law makes it illegal to carry a firearm or explosive within the Capitol of Virginia, Capitol Square, and the surrounding are.  Additionally, no one is permitted to have a firearm within 40 feet of any building being used as a polling place.

January 2021

Below is a detailed listing of the January 2021 Virginia New Laws Update.  Of particular interest are the following new laws:

Holding A Cell Phone While Driving

As a result of an increase in crashes involving inattentive drivers, the Virginia General Assembly passed a law prohibiting driving while holding a cell phone.  Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety found Virginia to be one of 11 states considered to be “dangerously behind” in driving and safety laws. Because texting while driving involves all three types of distraction — manual, visual, and cognitive, it is the most egregious type of distracted driving.

On January 1, 2021 police in Virginia began enforcing the new Virginia law that prohibits drivers from holding a cell phone while driving.  While a driver may still talk on your phone while driving, he or she may not hold the phone.

Concealed Handgun Training

A new Virginia state law, which took effect on January 1, 2021, requires anyone who applies for a concealed carry permit to take an in-person firearms training course.  This is a change from the previous law which allowed the training requirement to be fulfilled by a virtual course.

Cost of Insulin Limits

Also among the new laws, is a prohibition against health insurance and other insurance carriers to charge more than $50 per 30-day supply of insulin.  This law covers the prescription insulin drug.

Balance Medical Billing

A new law preventing families and individuals from receiving unexpected medical bills also went into effect on January 1, 2021.  This new law impacts patients with health insurance from being billed for out-of-network emergency services.  This has occurred when patients receive health care from a hospital or doctor that is not in the insurance company’s network.  The new law states that “the health carrier shall treat any cost-sharing requirement in the same manner as the cost-sharing requirement for health care services provided by an in-network provider and shall apply any cost-sharing amount paid by the enrollee for such services toward the in-network maximum out-of-pocket payment obligation.”  So, this law is intended to prevent balance billing for amounts not covered by the insurance plan.

Improperly Classifying Independent Contractors

Virginia is becoming more strict on who can be classified as an independent contract.  Effective January 1, 2021, the new law prohibits an employer from classifying an individual as an independent contractor if he is an employee, unless the employer can demonstrate that the worker is actually a contractor.

Laws Effective Later

March 1, 2021 — Beginning March 1, 2021, searches and seizures based solely on the odor of marijuana will not be allowed under Virginia law.  This new law comes shortly after Virginia’s marijuana decriminalization law, that went into effect on July 1, 2020 and made the punishment for possessing an ounce or less of marijuana a civil matter, punishable by a $25 fine.

May 1, 2021 — Beginning May 1, 2021, the minimum wage in Virginia will increase to $9.50 an hour.  Currently, the wage rate is at the federally-mandated rate of $7.25 per hour.  Additional increases are set to take effect as follows:

January 1, 2022     $11/hour

January 1, 2023     $12/hour

January 1, 2025     $13.50/hour

January 1, 2026     $15/hour

We hope our reporting of the 2021 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.