July 1, 2022
Virginia Capitol Building

Virginians woke up this morning with new laws that could affect their lives. The laws enacted by the 2022 General Assembly take effect today.

According to a report from  WRIC TV, starting today, Virginians will be allowed to get cocktails to-go and alcoholic drinks delivered to them until 2024 after the General Assembly passed a bill that one lawmaker called a lifeline to small businesses.

Virginia schools have to alert parents if books or other materials their children are assigned have sexually explicit content and provide an alternative option if they want one by 2023.

A new law going into effect in July creates a four-level earned credit system that allows people who are incarcerated to reduce their sentences up to 15 days for every 30 days served.

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State lawmakers approved legislation creating the Virginia Black and indigenous people’s fund, which can give money to state and federally recognized Native American tribes, nonprofits and localities.

Virginia lawmakers passed a bill earlier this year allowing smaller localities to opt out of the “Marcus Alert” law, a measure passed in 2020 that aimed to improve the response to mental and behavioral health emergencies. The law set out to have localities implement a system requiring mental health professionals to join law enforcement when responding to incidents where people were experiencing a mental health crisis. But state lawmakers agreed to amend the law this year to give localities with populations under 40,000 an opt-out option, citing cost concerns and a shortage of behavioral health workers in smaller localities. Of Virginia’s 133 localities, 89 have fewer than 40,000 residents.

Virginians who want a medical marijuana license won’t need to register with the state starting in July, but there will still be steps they have to take. The change will allow medical cannabis patients to buy marijuana products from dispensaries after receiving a certificate from a registered practitioner. On top of letting them avoid waiting for a license from the board, a process that can take months, the law will also allow patients to not have to pay a $50 application fee.

Virginia lawmakers overwhelmingly approved legislation  that bans police and sheriff’s departments from requiring a specific number of tickets and arrests from their officers. The new law going into effect July 1 also ensures that arrest numbers or summonses issued by an officer will not be used as the sole criteria for reviewing job performance.

Starting in July, any adult who knowingly sends “an intimate image” electronically to another adult without their consent could face a financial penalty. Such an act will be “considered a trespass and shall be liable to the recipient of the intimate image for actual damages or $500, whichever is greater, in addition to reasonable attorney fees and costs,” according to the bill.

Virginia’s longtime ban on switchblades will end in July but people won’t be able to conceal the knives from view.

A law taking effect July 1 will allow hunting on public land in Virginia on Sundays. Lawmakers passed the bill in March and Gov. Youngkin signed it in April.

A new law will change how absentee ballots are counted in Virginia, requiring local election officials to report them by precinct instead of putting them into one centralized precinct. Another law taking effect requires the removal of dead people from voter rolls every week instead of once a month.

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