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Starting July 1, Virginia will permit alcohol deliveries, frown on arrest quotas, and other new laws

Virginia State Capitol in Richmond (file photo)

A slew of new laws are taking effect in Virginia tomorrow (July 1), including a ban on police ticket quotas, a requirement for licenses to deliver alcohol, and a new allowance for hunting on Sundays.

The 2022 General Assembly session finally wrapped this month with the approval of a new budget. All in all, about 800 laws were passed by the legislative body and signed into law by Gov. Glenn Youngkin this year, including some from local lawmakers.

A number of those new laws are going into effect tomorrow, July 1.

Here are eight that could impact county residents:

License to deliver alcoholic beverages

The identical bills HB 426 and SB 254 both create a new license for deliveries of alcoholic beverages purchased by consumers. The new law extends the pandemic-era “cocktail to-go” policy while addressing several safety issues.

Businesses will now have to obtain a third-party license, costing between $2,500 and $7,500 depending on company size. The license requires delivery employees to take an online course on age verification, food requirements and responsible drinking.

HB 426 was sponsored by Del. David Bulova (D-37), who represents Fairfax City and parts of Fairfax County.

School principals must report misdemeanors 

HB 4 and SB 36 require school principals to report most misdemeanors to law enforcement, including certain kinds of assault, battery, threats made to school officials, stalking, and alcohol and drug use. Before, principals only had to report acts that constitute a felony offense.

Both bills were introduced by Republicans and were a legislative priority of Youngkin, but did have some bipartisan support, including Del. Ken Plum (D-36), Del Mark Sickles (D-43), Sen. Jennifer Boysko (D-33), and Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-30).

No more police arrest or ticket quotas 

HB 750 bans police departments and sheriff’s offices from imposing formal or informal arrest or ticket quotas. This particularly affects the issuing of traffic violations, which have long been unpopular with both police and drivers. In some jurisdictions, quotas have been used as a barometer for job performance.

The bill received unanimous support in both the House of Delegates and the state Senate.

Medical marijuana patients no longer need to register

With HB 933, Virginia patients no longer need to register to purchase cannabis from a licensed retailer. Now, they can simply get a certification from their doctor. While that may seem like a procedural matter, it could be a big deal. Patients will no longer have to go through a wonky website to get approved, a process that could take months, or pay extra money.

The hope is that it will improve and speed up the process for patients to receive their medicine. As of May, only 0.5% of Virginia residents were registered medical cannabis patients — far below the national average of 2% and the Maryland rate of 2.5%.

Switchblades are now legal

For decades, switchblades were illegal in Virginia. But SB 758 has removed switchblades from a list of weapons that residents are not allowed to possess or sell.

The Commonwealth was one of six states still banning switchblades, a prohibition that stemmed from the 1950s, when it was thought to be the weapon of choice of street gangs.

However, switchblades will still be listed among weapons that must not be concealed from public view.

The bill passed the Virginia General Assembly with near-unanimous support, with only three delegates voting against it.

Fines for sharing sexually explicit material without consent

SB 493 imposes at least a $500 penalty for electronically sending an “intimate image” to another person’s device without their consent. The bill considers such an image as an act of trespassing, defining an “intimate image” as a photograph, video, recording, digital picture, or visual reproduction of a “state of undress so as to expose the human male or female genitals.”

Receiving such images has been an issue for women on dating apps and real estate agents, according to the Virginia Mercury.

The bill passed with unanimous support from the Virginia General Assembly.

Hunting on Sundays

A perhaps archaic quirk in Virginia law was that hunting, for years, was not allowed on public lands on Sundays. Legislation sponsored by local Sen. Chap Petersen (D-34) changes that.

SB 8 now allows hunting on Sundays on both public and private lands, provided it takes place more than 200 yards from a place of worship.

Several local representatives voted against the bill, though, including Boysko, Bulova, Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (D-41), Del. Dan Helmer (D-40), and Del. Kathy Tran (D-42).

Unaccompanied homeless youth can consent to housing

HB 717 lets unaccompanied homeless youth, minors under the age of 18, act as adults so they can enter into housing, including emergency shelters, and take advantage of housing-related services. Advocates say the bill will help many youth experiencing homelessness remain safe and protected.

The legislation was sponsored by Filler-Corn, who represented parts of Fairfax County from Mantua to Burke and served as House minority leader during this past session.

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