It’s July 1st, which means it’s the day when most new laws go into effect in Virginia! During the most recent legislative session, we passed over 600 pieces of legislation that will become law. I won’t summarize all 600, but I do want to highlight a few that go into effect today.
- Abolition of the Death Penalty: As of today, the death penalty has been abolished in Virginia. The two remaining inmates on death row will have their sentences converted to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
- Legalization of Marijuana: As of today, it’s legal to possess one ounce or less of marijuana. Questions? Make sure to check out this FAQ.
- Increasing Access to Higher Education: The G3 Initiative (Get Skilled, Get a Job, and Give Back) will increase middle and lower-income Virginians’ access to education programs at Virginia community colleges that prepare students for jobs in high-demand fields.
- Protecting Healthcare Workers and First Responders: Under HB 1985 and HB 2207, healthcare workers and first responders who died or suffer a disability as a result of contracting COVID-19 are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
- Banning Discrimination on the Basis of Disabilities: Discrimination on the basis of disability is now unlawful in Virginia thanks to an addition to the Virginia Human Rights Act that goes into effect today.
- Preventing Domestic Abusers from Possessing Firearms: Under this new law, individuals convicted of domestic abuse will be barred from possessing a firearm for a three-year period following their conviction.
- Clean Car Standards Act: Instructs the State Air Pollution Board to outline emissions programs for cars with a model year date of 2025 or later. The regulations developed by the Board will not go into effect until January 1, 2024. You can learn more about the Clean Car Standards Act here.
- Enacting Voting Rights Reforms: A whole host of voting rights reforms go into effect today which do the following: clarify that voters with disabilities may vote curbside instead of having to enter a polling place, allow localities to offer early voting on Sundays, and improve the absentee voting process.
If you are interested in learning more about the laws that go into effect today, check out In Due Course! In Due Course is a document compiled by the Division of Legislative Services that outlines some of the new laws that are most likely to impact the daily lives of Virginians. It’s a great resource. Another great source of information is this list of new laws in effect today compiled by the Virginia Public Access Project. Make sure to check it out!
We’ve made so much progress here in Virginia over the past two years. We’ve made Virginia a leader on voting rights and criminal justice reform. We’ve made significant investments in education: giving teachers a much deserved pay raise and improving the counselor-to-student ratio. We’ve enacted common sense gun safety reform. We’ve taken action to invest in renewable energy and protect our environment. We’ve followed through on our promise to make Virginia a better place for all Virginians and I am incredibly proud of that. Thank you for being part of these historic efforts, none of this would have been possible without your support.
Stay safe and take care,
Delegate Mike Mullin
93rd House District